The World Outside of Our Home

One of the most amazing things that has happened in the last few months is our son’s desire to leave our home. To go places. To try things. And to communicate about it.

We never went anywhere for years.

Seven years to be exact.

We were always home. Safely inside triple locked doors and fences.

We went to therapy, the occasional doctor’s trip, and to see grandparents but that was it.

When we did go somewhere we always had to drive the same route. Do the same things. See the same things.

We never stopped anywhere. We held our breath. We went as fast as we could.

As his parents, we walked the fine line of accommodating his comfort zone and motivating and gently pushing him out into the world.

If we pushed too hard, stopped at a stoplight, turned left instead of right, parked too far from the entrance, or had a change of plans it would be detrimental.

If we didn’t push, we pictured a lifetime of home. Never leaving.

But now, now it’s different. We worked hard for a lot of years. We figured out how and why and rewards and motivators.

Today, we went to the doctor for his ears. We walked in. We waited. We talked for 20 minutes. I held him most of the time.

His head was in my chest. My hands rubbing his back and whispering of a trip to Target while he was examined.

When I wasn’t holding him, he was anxious. The lights were on and off, on and off. Door open, door shut.

Anything metal was tapped. Loudly. Tap, tap, tap.

Chairs were spun. Fast and slow.

Options were discussed. A seventh set of tubes. To keep the tonsils or not. Decisions to be made. Quality of life the most important factor.

And then we were done. And he asked me to go to Target. Well, not verbally. He pointed to the sky and made a sound. I knew where he wanted to go.

He wanted paper. And books. And flashcards.

He walked through the parking lot while I held his hand. We talked about calm body, calm hands and calm words.

We shopped. We negotiated. One of us verbally. One of us nonverbally. He was more convincing.

Then a stop at the grocery store for doughnuts and coffee. Lots of waiting. Choices. More walking.

Never underestimate how hard a person has to work to be out in the world. Or how long it may have taken to get here. Right here. To Target. Or a grocery store.

When you see a young person struggling. Being loud. Running. Clumsy. And a mom or dad doing things a little unconventionally.

Please have patience. Give grace. Give kindness.

Because for him, for us, it took us 9 years to get here. And we are pretty proud.

This is a big deal for us.

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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