Moving Up

May 18, 2022

One of my greatest discoveries as a special needs dad is that success comes in different forms, sometimes non-typical and beyond the conventional.

A few days ago, I saw the family photo of an old acquaintance on Facebook. It was for their son’s moving up ceremony. They were happy, beaming with pride, and very much contented.

Our little boy Miguel smiling happily

Moving Up

It was then that I realized that their son was of the same age as Miguel. Moving if Miguel wasn’t delayed, he could also be moving up to a higher academic level by now. I imagined our family photo — smiling wide, full of pride, overflowing with happiness. We would eat in our favorite restaurant, treat the kids to a movie or the activities that they love, and maybe buy the two kids the toys that they want.

And then I stopped. My thoughts were replaced by the scene during our first visit to the developmental pediatrician. We were hoping then that we were just paranoid and that the information that we googled about Miguel’s “symptoms” were all wrong.

We would be happy to be proven wrong with our assumptions at that time. However, at the end of that session, we got the diagnosis that Miguel had Global Developmental Delay (GDD). Then there are the on and off therapies that followed because of the pandemic and blaming myself for not having succeeded in the home program because I wasn’t patient enough. Sometimes, I couldn't help but feel a little envious of my fellow parents.

During that point, I stopped again to get a hold of myself and took a deep breath. I think of the days when we were just starting to navigate through special needs parenting and think of how much we’ve progressed. Sure, we may not be moving up like some of the neurotypical kids that are of the same age as Miguel. But we’re learning things in a different way.

Because of our situation, we’ve discovered a deeper sense of gratitude, we learned what resilience really is all about, and we were taught that we can be patient even if we thought that we have nothing more to give.

We’ve learned to let things be if they are beyond our control. We’ve learned to let go of our expectations. We’ve learned that we don’t always have to fit into society’s standards to be considered successful. We’ve learned to acknowledge our fears and our emotions and there’s nothing wrong with that. We can celebrate small triumphs and that’s perfectly fine.

We’ve come a long way although we still have a long way to go. Just the same, we’re happy with all of the things that we’ve achieved and the challenges that we’ve overcome. 

When I look at Miguel, I'm full of gratitude because of how much he has improved in the last two years. He may not be hitting all the developmental milestones but that's fine. I know he will bloom in his own time. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the days knowing that Miguel is like a baby for a longer period of time and that he doesn't have to grow up too fast. We'll take our time, we don't have to rush things.

I know we will also have our moving up ceremony someday, although, in a different fashion, I guess. We’ll still be the happiest family when that time comes. For parents who are in the same situation as us, it’s important to try to find happiness in the unexpected, the unusual, and the non-typical. I know it’s hard but it can be done. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of perspective. Success is success even if it's beyond the conventional.

In the end, what’s important is the journey (cliché as it may sound) and the things that we gain along the way.

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1 comment

  1. Christalene J. De Castro2 June 2022 at 14:48

    The earlier you work on these problems, the more likely your child can catch up to other kids their age.Every child is unique🥰