In case you were wondering, yes, I do have a second child. Andy is a beautiful, normal 2-year-old. The difference between Andy and Joey is sometimes startling. Sometimes the similarities are startling. And sometimes I wonder if I am getting to enjoy Andy and his amazing growing up like I should, since I spend so much time with Joey.
Sometimes I wonder what other people dream of for their children. I have forgotten much of what I was hoping for when Joey was two. Was I dreaming of him growing up, falling in love, getting married, having a good job? Was I hoping for a good college, a nice car, maybe a little house where I could watch my grandchildren? I don't remember wanting these things, or even thinking about them. I think I was trying to imagine him in a preschool and playing T-ball, but I'm not sure now. Since most of the parents I know are also "special ed", its hard to say what “normal” parents want for their kids.
And yet, though I am a “special ed” mom, I’m also a “normal” mom. I’m going to get to negotiate the world from both ends. Yet I’m not sure what I want for Andy is what other parents want. I am want him to feel loved and know I am so proud of him, even if I am spending more time working with Joey. I am him to know he is so special, too. I don’t want his primary self-image to be one of Brother of an Autistic Person, or Special Ed Sibling. I want him to have his own world and his own world view, and not be swallowed by Joey’s disability. I want his role as Joey’s brother to be like any other brother.
What do normal parents dream of and hope for?