Age is Just a Number

Yesterday I was scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, as I usually do, when I saw a picture that stopped my finger mid-motion.

It was a little girl I knew well. Her mom, a friend of mine. We were pregnant at the same time. We have slipped apart over the years, as we so often do.

The photo was precious. The caption read, the last day of third grade.

Third grade.

Wow.

For a second I thought, that can’t be right.

I did the math.

It was right.

If my son was in public education, he would be finishing up third grade. But see, like many things in the world of autism, we veered off on our own path when he was three. We took twists and unplanned turns, never once being typical. We found success in the scary and unknown.

We didn’t choose this beautifully different life, it chose us. And once we embraced that, wow, it’s been a wonderful place to be.

And we said goodbye to markers in time like the first and last days of school.

Instead, we get to lie down in a busy field and study the clouds, and feel the cool of a plaster wall on our cheeks, and watch grains of sand fall from our hands over and over again.

It’s not baseball games or band concerts or playdates. It’s different than all that. A secret world really. A place full of light and color and sounds. A place with very little emphasis on time.

But. Third grade.

For a second longer I stared at the photo. Her daughter must be 9 years old too. Like my Cooper. And 9 is a big deal. A lot of pre-teen stuff I assume. Maybe even friend drama. Who knows. I have no idea what 9 year-olds care about.

My sweet boy, we don’t think about him as 9. Or as a third grader. He is his own unique self, not defined by an age or grade.

In a way it’s like we are members of our own club. And we get to make the rules. We get to focus our goals and hopes and wishes around what’s best for him. What he truly needs. And what makes him happy.

He loves Thomas and Barney and Dora. He loves old man train documentaries and magazines.

He loves brightly colored pieces of paper and bringing me black and white magazine clippings from the 1960’s with details about trips to Canada or the Ozarks. Trips that cost $50 and no longer are happening.

He loves sleeping with mom and dad. He loves the alphabet and frogs and penguins.

He loves driving to Starbucks and getting a cookie. He loves his grandparents.

He loves napping in the afternoon, really comfy clothes and quiet.

He loves dancing and wrestling and tickling too.

He is uniquely made. Parts old. Parts young. He will grow and age at his own pace. On his own time. Some parts leaping. Some frozen in time.

Age doesn’t matter to us. Not anymore.

Oh, I’m sure I will feel a sting when I see my newsfeed filled with photos of his peers getting their driver’s licenses and the day the college brochures start arriving in the mail. I think about being a teen as well. Sneaking out. First kisses and first beers. Those rites of passage.

But I hope that sting will be dulled by Cooper’s beauty and light. And joy.

Because with age comes responsibility and stress. And real life. The focus turns to money and status and all the boxes we as adults feel the need to check.

But with my sweet boy, we will focus on his joy. Always, his joy.

Written by, Kate Swenson

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

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.

36 likes
Prev post: May We LearnNext post: My Quarantine Hero

Related posts

Join Coop’s Troop
Join Coop’s Troop

Become a Supporter of Finding Cooper's Voice and join our online community, Coop's Troop. Membership includes Facebook Lives with our family, giveaways and more.
JOIN NOW

About Me
About Me

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!

READ MORE

SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
FindingCoopersVoice
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
Sign up for Finding Cooper's Voice
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
Most Popular
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS