Rare Moments: Confessions of a Mother with a Special Needs Child

There come those rare moments when, out of nowhere, and when we least expect it, something truly magical happens. Perhaps some of us are too wrapped up in the demands of our daily lives to actually notice those moments. But one way or another, whether we want to admit it or not, we all catch glimpses of dreams coming true, whether they are fairytale wedding nights or surprise birthday parties, a baby’s first step or a child’s heartwarming smile. They can even be as simple as a hug from the right person at the right time, or as grandiose as a moment of success under the spotlight. They can be moments of genuine appreciation from our loved ones, a kiss that melts souls and weakens knees, first days of school, rose-colored graduations, or a thought or an idea that boosts our minds and hearts with hope and energy, or the experience of true submission under the sparkling light of faith.

I was one of the lucky few to see and feel a truly magical moment. Here I am placing it lovingly in my cherished box of beautiful memories; the magical moment when my son became a part of our family and we were able to enjoy him for one whole hour.

When it happened, my daughter and I froze in place, mesmerized by the beauty of this unity. For 60 blessed minutes, each second was worth a lifetime of happiness. My son, who had been living with us for eleven years, blended with us that night. For the first time in a very long time we were finally a family.

I was able to answer his smart questions. I was able to cuddle with him and his sister on our couch and watch a movie. It was a new movie he had never seen before and yet he did not act up. He did not bang his head against the wall and he did not punch me in the face when I looked at him. He did not slap his sister or try to break the TV. He did none of that. He laughed and joked and told us how much he loves us. He walked to his room all by himself and fetched his blue blanket. All by himself he came back with messy hair and a big adorable grin that shined bright like a full moon on our lives. We were there to see it and feel it. We were there to enjoy that blessing that night. Although it might sound so simple and so normal, to me, it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life: My eleven-year-old son was behaving like an eleven year old for the very first time.

There were no extra doses of medication or midnight calls to doctors. There were no fears of seizures, panic attacks or excessive drooling from excitement. I did not have to wonder how I would be able to manage tomorrow and how I was able to survive yesterday. I did not have to apologize to people around me and explain his condition to his sister over and over again. I did not have to hold back my tears. I did not have to shield everyone with my body from his sudden blows. Only then did I realize that something ‘not happening’ was the greatest, most amazing blessing of all.

The pleasant, normal side of my son was given to me as a gift that night. For one whole hour he sat and talked to us like a young man and then fell asleep on my lap like an innocent little baby. Just like that. As I saw the look on his sister’s face, absorbed her smile and her serene feeling of long lost security, I watched her fall asleep peacefully without fearing that her own brother was in the same room. My heart sang a beautiful lullaby that night that I had never heard before. I sat alone with both my children asleep in my arms, wishing I could hit the pause button and make this rare, magical moment last forever. The whole world smiled back at me as I basked in my newfound happiness.

For a brief moment, I was able to experience an occurrence of normal daily life. I did not think, not even in my wildest dreams, that something so simple could feel so glorious and fulfilling. Even when I knew deep down that come morning I would have to return my ordinary special gift, it was worth every magical second.

If only we could stop running just for a little bit. If only we could stop and appreciate those rare, ordinary moments that make our lives so extraordinary. If only we could stop chasing the unknown and take the time to absorb the beauty we hardly notice anymore: the sparkles in loving eyes, the moments of true understanding, the masterpieces made from cereal boxes and play dough, and the life-changing art drawn by little messy hands. If only we could allow those rare, cherished moments to invade our busy, empty lives for a little while, perhaps that is when our dreams will shine brightly in the night and we will finally realize that happiness is lined with appreciating the simple things in life that are ever so great.

Thank you, Allah Almighty, for allowing me to see what ordinary means. It is truly and magnificently extraordinary.

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