The Sacrifices we Make as Parents

I would like to take a moment and talk about making sacrifices for our children.

As a mother of an 8 year old autistic son, sacrificing started at an early age. 

When I started noticing Mason was autistic, I accepted it right away. I sacrificed my comfort by becoming alert and not ignoring the symptoms.

When my husband and I did not see eye to eye, perhaps I sacrificed my family.

When our pediatrician said “nothing was wrong…” and I screamed and melted down in a parking lot, insisting he was wrong, perhaps I sacrificed my dignity. 

I sacrificed the enjoyment of the early years of motherhood and instead, became a version of a therapist for 4 years. Implementing therapy day after day so that Mason could have a good life. 

I sacrificed time when therapists were in my home, day after day.

I sacrificed my mind and my soul to make sure my son has the best quality of life.

Meetings with neurologists, IEP meetings. Evaluations over and over. 

But yesterday, on the Wildwood boardwalk, I made the ultimate sacrifice when my beautiful son looked up at me, eyes wide and said…

“Mommy, will you take me on that roller coaster?” 

“THAT roller coaster?!???”, I said.

I looked at the savage being that took up the whole damn pier, which prior to that moment, I had hoped somehow Mason would not have noticed it’s dark and looming presence. 

A horrible wooden death trap not fit for a 42 year old mother who at this point in life wants nothing to do with tempting death. 

“Hell no! Are you crazy?” 

Oh wait I can’t say that to my 8 year old. 

“I don’t think you are tall enough, honey”, I said instead, in my most empathetic mommy voice…trying to hide the quiver that had emerged suddenly. 

We walked over to where height is measured, and with all my might, sweating and hyperventilating at the thought of setting foot on this messed up life ender, I begged some higher being to please let Mason be too short to ride it. 

Crap!! He was JUST tall enough. I mean…right to the inch. WTF. 

UGH! My whole life I have hated being short and the one time I needed this genetic deficit that does not allow me to change my shower curtain without reinforcements, or clean my microwave without a step stool …basically failed me. 

Mason was so excited, he could not contain himself. 

I, on the other hand, started sweating, shaking, and praying. 

A lump filled my throat as we climbed the steps and I immediately felt like I was going to pee and cry. 

I started to imagine what would happen if I walked off the roller coaster with pee all over me. 

Could I blame it on Mason? No…he is too old.  

I think the word [email protected] went through my head about 10,000 times. 

As it became apparent our turn was…uh…next… I was shaking and I seriously wanted to cry and run away. My eye started twitching and I was thinking about stories I had read about people flying off of amusement park rides. 

We got on the ride, and were strapped in. I still was really afraid of peeing and was shaking like a leaf.

Mason looked the exact opposite, his eyes were wide with excitement and he was yelling “I love you Mommy! Thank you!”

Mason was so small on this ride, they had to BRING OUT a measuring stick to measure him AGAIN! 

Again, just made it. 

Great. 

As the ride started, I put my arms across him in the “my parent arms will save you from this car accident” style. 

“Mom! Stop! Get off me!”, he shouted.  

Nope! 

As we went up a hill that was more terrifying than the thought of a 7th sequel to Sharknado, Mason suddenly became as anxiety ridden as me, as he wondered what was going to happen to his penis when we went down the hill. 

As the cart descended down into a cliff of doom, Mason looked at me, my body basically laying across him and screamed as we went down the hill…
“Omg! My Penis!”

Now in addition to fear, I started to laugh. And scream. And cry. All at the same time.

With my body flung across my 4’2 48 pound 8 year old. 

Mason and I continued to scream, me not trying to pee, and mason very concerned about his penis being smushed by the bar keeping us safe. 

He laughed uncontrollably the entire time, and so did I.

I never sat up straight and I continued to lay across him the entire ride. I was so focused on ensuring his safety, I eventually forgot I had to pee. 

When the ride ended, I was safe, Mason was safe, his penis was not injured, and I had not peed myself. 

I stepped off the ride and I was so relieved it was over, I wanted to crawl in a fetal position while fake rain poured down on me, and sob to dramatic music. 

Instead, I walked off like nothing was wrong. 

Somehow, this whole ride was symbolic of my entire experience of motherhood. 

As a single mom, I realize I am going to have to make sacrifices for my son. 

I will do whatever I can to ensure he grows up to be an upstanding, compassionate man. 

But screw this ride shit. #nothanks #bye

My son, I will do anything for you except literally ride another roller coaster…

But I will also never leave you alone on the roller coaster we ride every day together. 

I love you Mason.

Written by, Jill Potter

Jill’s son Mason was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at 21 months. Jill is a working mommy who actively advocates for her son and actively supports new parents just beginning their autism journey. You can follow her page on Facebook at My Yellow Brick Road-My Very Own Rainbow.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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