learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

The Kid I Don’t Have

I cannot mourn for the child I do not have.

Strange statement, right?

I do not have the preschooler  you see on television, all sassy and chatty. I do not have the child who listens to directions or warnings easily. I do not have the child who does things in a mainstream, socially expected way.

There is a place in the heart of parents like myself that I know mourns the child they do not have; the child that some of them envisioned and the child they see in their child’s peers on a day in and day out basis. You have these gut wrenching moments of “If only…” or “I wish…” and it can steer you down this slippery slope of self blame, sorrow and heartache. It’s an ugly, dark and dismal place to be.

I can’t live there.

The son I have is amazing. Yes, other children my son’s age, their parents celebrated their child saying phrases long ago. That doesn’t matter. I celebrated it yesterday and it was glorious. Did you know he plays games now? That he can sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”? Did you know he can create little scenes with his toys and just crack you up with the way his mind works, because now he can let you see that? Do you know that he loves to give kisses now, rushing over sometimes out of the clear sunny blue to press a smacking kiss on my cheek?

There is so much yet to be done ahead of us, so many things to learn and to cope with and to work either with or around. Every day though, I look at the son I have and cannot help but to think “wow, I got a good one”… Even when he melts down so badly it takes days to fully recover. Even when the house is destroyed beyond recognition with toys and stuff all over. Even when all he can do is flail his arms at me, scratching and hitting out of sheer frustration in his attempts to tell me something. He is my son, my best boy and changing even the smallest thing would take away what makes him ever so uniquely him.

So I can’t and won’t mourn for the child I do not have. I will celebrate the rough and tumble shining star of a little boy I do. Every day, I’ll hope that the rest of the world can come to appreciate him too, learning to love him just exactly as he is. No more and no less.


  1. Anne rossetti

    Nicole, another truly beautiful post. I have read it many times, and shared it as I believe it will help so many who have had a gut-wrenching “if only….” moment. It is a dark place; some people get stuck there. i think you are helping those who may be stuck to see the beauty in their life, even if it has taken a difference course than expected.

    You have to write a book – you could help so many!

    • Nicole

      Hi Anne!! I hope your holidays were beautiful! We all have those what if moments. I think they just come harder when you see someone you love struggling badly, but dang if I would trade the hard for anything that would make J less J. Someone very amazing in my life taught all of us who knew her to look for all the little things and damn if her lessons aren’t saving me most days. She was a tremendous young lady. I hope you and yours are doing well!

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