Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Kelli McIntosh for a summer series highlighting great writers who focus on disability.
It was a typical morning. The sun had not yet risen and I was up before everyone else. I was enjoying my cup of coffee while sitting in my favorite spot in the living room, soaking up the quiet time that I wouldn’t get again for another 24 hours. I knew the kids would be waking soon but I wasn’t quite ready to get up and officially start my day. And then I heard footsteps and knew Kaylie was on her way down. But when I looked up, it was Kyle who skipped into the room. It was Kyle who opened up his own bedroom door and walked down the stairs. It was Kyle who said, “Good morning, Mom!”
I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears and I was crying and hugging Kyle.
Then I woke up.
As I looked around my dark bedroom, I wondered if it had really happened. Did Kyle talk? Can Kyle really open doors and walk down steps on his own? So many thoughts in just a split second, but then I knew it had all been a dream. I closed my eyes wanting to get back into that dream. I was crying. I wanted to hear Kyle’s sweet 7-year old voice again.
I wanted to hear him call me “Mom” again.
This wasn’t the first time I’d dreamed that Kyle could speak. It was just one of many over the last seven years. The dreams are always of an instant miracle and we are all amazed and crying with joy. And I’m not the only one who has had dreams like this. Kyle’s grandparents, his aunt, Kaylie, and even Kyle’s babysitter have had dreams where Kyle can speak.
I’ve even let myself daydream about it. I’ve closed my eyes and imagine the what ifs.
What if Kyle could dress himself and put on his own shoes and brush his own teeth?
What if Kyle didn’t need me to change his diaper?
What if Kyle played with Kaylie like she so desperately desires?
What if I sent the kids out to play in the backyard while I read a book and glanced up to see them chasing each other?
It makes me think of what my life would have been like if it had been up to me. But I don’t daydream like this often and I don’t dwell on it too long, because it’s not up to me.
And what about Kyle? What does Kyle dream? I see the way he looks into my eyes and how he longs for me to understand what he wants so badly to tell me. I have seen his bites of frustration when we don’t understand what he’s trying to communicate. Does Kyle dream of being able to talk to me? Does he wake up from his dream and wonder if he can? Does he, like me, want to close his eyes again and live in his dream?
But we can’t live in our dreams and daydreams. The life I live now, the life Kyle lives, is reality. But reality is painful sometimes, isn’t it? If Kyle had been born without disabilities, it would be something else that I would dream. My dreams are of perfection. Of heaven. And I’m thankful that heaven will be my reality one day.
In the meantime, I wake up and I live my life. Does that mean I have to live each day unhappy with my reality?
Because I am choosing to be content.
Kelli McIntosh is a wife and the mother of two children. Her nine year old son, Kyle, has special needs; she blogs at Not Just Anyone to share how she has learned to accept her son’s diagnosis while still holding on to faith and hope. She encourages her readers to focus on life’s unexpected circumstances with a positive perspective. You can connect with her at Not Just Anyone, Facebook, and Pinterest.