I love you. You get to be the baby forever. We knew the day that you were born that something was different about you. The doctor was late and I was told to wait. We waited a bit too long. We didn’t know it for the first year, but your tiny brain went a while without oxygen. It caused some brain damage and we still aren’t sure exactly what that means. The cerebral palsy caused your left leg and arm to move a little different from the right side, but they get the job done. I can see how smart you are, there is no hiding that. It might take you longer to solve the problem, but I know you can do it. You amaze me every single day.

You are one of the funniest people I know, and I’m pretty funny if I do say so myself. You make me laugh each and everyday. I also cry almost everyday. I cry because it isn’t fair. I cry because I lose my temper. I cry because I am exhausted. I cry because I just want you to be “normal.” I cry because you don’t sleep, and I need you to sleep. I cry because you still aren’t potty trained and you are the only kid in your class that wears a diaper at nap time. I cry because my heart hurts for you.

This past week I took you to the doctor and they confirmed that you also have autism. Just like I knew that something wasn’t right before, I knew that this was also a possibility. It didn’t make it any easier to hear. I cried when I took you home from the doctor’s office. You asked me what was wrong. I didn’t reply.

I know that you are exactly who you were meant to be. I cry because I don’t always know how to help you. I cry because I can’t find the patience to give you exactly what you need. I cry because I fear that you are broken and I don’t know how to fix you. I cry because life is hard enough when you are “normal.”

I know that you are happy most of the time. I know that you love me all of the time. Please know that I love you too. I love you even when I am sad, and even when I cry. I love you when I yell and when I say things like, “I am on my last nerve.” I will do whatever I can for you, no matter what that looks like.

You have a beautiful soul. I try very hard to remember that when you are kicking and screaming. When we are in public and I have to leave the store or the restaurant because the meltdown in a level 10. I cry when you hit me, or your brother or sister. When you scream and cry and I just can’t figure out what set you off. I try. I promise you that I will always try.

You are not your brain damage. You are not your autism. You are my son. You are a comedian. You are a boy full of energy and ideas. You are my shadow. I love every piece of you. I cannot fix you because you are not broken. You are a puzzle that was put together with a different method. It’s my job care for you and love you just the way you are. Perfectly imperfect, just like the rest of us.

21 Thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Perfectly Imperfect Son

  1. Angela on July 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm said:

    Dear Meredith,
    Delurking to write that your son is very lucky to have you as his Mom. Your unconditional love and acceptance shines through in your writing. Your honesty and vulnerability is truly inspirational, thank you for sharing. You’re right, parenting a ” normal” child is tough enough but when special needs are present it can be overwhelming. I hope you have a good support system to rely on. My kids don’t have special needs, so I’m not qualified to give you any advice. But just wanted to let you know that you should be proud of yourself and you are doing the best you can and no one is perfect and try not to be too hard on yourself, I’m sorry for all the clichés. please take care.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. It has been a rough week around here, but it was time to let it all out. I appreciate that you took the time to read this and contact me.
      Thanks, Meredith

  2. Melissa on July 10, 2015 at 4:55 pm said:

    Beautiful!!!!! So honest and raw! You made me cry!! Keep doing what you are doing. You are awesome!!!

  3. Casey on July 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm said:

    I know this little man and I can tell you without a doubt….he is an awesomely amazing child whom my little guy calls his “best buddy”. You both are such great parents. Our school and family wouldn’t be the same without him (& his irreplaceable personality). Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tracy on July 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm said:

    Wow. I just discovered your writing and this is only the second thing of yours I have read. Beautifully written. What a lucky little boy your son is (as are your other children). I applaud you and will continue to cheer you on from here in North Carolina!

  5. mahrina on July 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm said:

    love love love this piece!!!

    i have a son with autism and i will read this from time to time to give me strength!!!!

    God bless and thank you for sharing this!!!

    • Hi Mahrina,
      Thank you. This was tough to write, but I needed to say it. I am so greatful you found me. I need people who understand where I am coming from. Please come back. I will write more on autism as I learn and live with it :)

  6. Lisa on July 21, 2015 at 4:50 pm said:

    I have three grown sons. My two youngest have a neurological disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia. They were born perfectly normal. Crawled, walked, talked all on time, just like the books say. When the oldest of the two was five he started having difficulty walking straight. He looked a little drunk. After numerous doctor visits, tests, research, and five years later we were given a diagnosis. This was after his younger brother started showing the same symptoms. Your comments are the same ones that I have said inside my head so many times. Thank you for sharing your heart not just with you son but with me. My sons are grown men; 28, 30 and 33. We were told they would not live past their teen years. God is so good.

  7. Michele Ortiz on July 21, 2015 at 5:05 pm said:

    This is cool!!! Just read the recent affair posting and saw your webpage.

    My 17yr old angel has mild autism, dx date is 8 years tomorrow. Whenever I feel sad or pathetic about myself or life for that matter, a bright light of how wonderful and special my son is and will be blocks out the darkness. He gives me hope, which is the only constant that I cling to on this autism journey.

    Yes, our sons are our sons….loving, funny, awesome, PERFECT PIECES OF GOD’S MIND:)

  8. Love this.

    I diagnosed my son at 18 months, confirmed by child development experts at 2, he is almost 12 !

    There were days when it was so hard but then there are days that have been so easy.

    Great read ! Keep your head up and keep smiling and loving that boy !

  9. Amy L. on July 21, 2015 at 6:18 pm said:

    This post really touched me. The baby of our family (he’s 7 now) also has CP and autism. His stroke affected his left side too.
    Thank you!

  10. One of my best friends has a 10 yr old son with autism and he has those lvl 10 meltdowns often enough. It’s so hard and there is no way I could be able to know how frustrating it can be so I just try to be there for her – I visit her there more than have her to my house, Or just stay at the house while she grocery shops etc. Not enough, but what would be. Great article, thanks for writing.

  11. Sarah Ramriez on July 22, 2015 at 8:40 am said:

    WOW! This hit so close to home for me. My daughter, now 7yr, had a stroke before she was born. Her left side is also affected. What you wrote was exactly what I have been thinking but felt to guilty to admit. So many days of wishing that things were normal in our house. But I also know that she is in the best place possible because I love her so much. Thank you for writing this.

    • Hi Sarah,
      It was easier to write then say out loud. I know that so many families deal with the same issue, but no one really wants to discuss it. I am hoping that my letter will bring people like “us” to my site so we can connect. I am also a humor blogger so this piece was out of my wheelhouse, but it is honestly how I feel. Thank you for your kind words. Please keep reading.

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