I am not sure what exactly did it but I think it was watching an interview with a professional basketball player on the Cavs. My son and I were watching him and I asked how old he was and when I learned he was 26 years old, I was kind of stunned because I thought wow, he is one year older than Elizabeth. I started thinking about how far she has come in life and that she is still working hard but for some reason this direct comparison made such an impact to me.

With that in mind, I just want to share an blog I had written a while ago that sort of talked about this feeling and is also themed for Halloween!

Hope it helps someone who might just need to hear this and not feel alone in their emotions.

“Yes, Elizabeth you can go with your brother to trick or treat.”  A simple sentence said.  Many people would not think twice about it except to make sure that they had the proper costume for their child to wear but really that is about it.

But for me, it sort of makes my heart ache.  Let me explain.  The above sentence was said to my beautiful daughter Elizabeth.  Who has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and global dyspraxia AND who is 18 years old.  She absolutely loves to trick or treat, not to eat the eventual spoils of her work but to simple go.

 She will come home with a pillowcase full of candy and only  eat the snack bag of pretzels there is in her bag. She makes a big pile of her candy and then happily leaves it to the rest of her chocolate loving family to enjoy.  So I want her to go because, well, darn it she is so happy about it.

But these past few years, and especially this year… as I have said “Sure you can go” I have had a sad heart. Maybe because I think she really is too old to go, or that she is too old to be so excited to go.  I read some posts in a the DypraxiaUSA Parent Support Group page, where parents were expressing how hard the Halloween Holiday was for their children and consequently for them.  I had already been feeling so many things already and  as I read their comments I was amazed so many people were feeling a whole range of emotions.  How hard it was watching their children try to talk to people, or go up to doors or even handle the scary houses.  Some were feelings sad that their children were the only ones to act or behave this way.  I will tell you, it is not easy to know how hard it is for your child to do things that other children simply cruise through.

I think it is difficult for those who have typical developing children to know just how hard it is to face certain times of the year or even certain markers of time with our special needs child.  I know that all the successes Elizabeth has had in her life are amazing, I know that she has come so far in so many ways and I know that she wants to keep learning and growing but sometimes her asking to do something that she has asked for so many years in a row will stop me in my tracks.  It is like I want her to grow past this activity of her younger years and arrive on the other side of it and say, “I am done with this”

Logically, I know that children with Dyspraxia are chronologically one age and developmentally another.  I get this, but that does not really make it easier when the difference is so “right there” sometimes. and for some reason the Halloween of 2015 saddened my heart.

It even mad me angry, my voice was sharp for a while and my attitude was not good for a while and truthfully I don’t usually get angry at times like this.  Sad? yes!  Angry? No.  I tried to think about the why’s of this burst of emotions.  I cannot explain why I had this range of emotions or why they left as soon as I saw her return from her appointed rounds and then helped me pass out treats or why when I saw her smile at the little Halloweeners, I was filled with joy and awe of her.

No one said life was easy and no one said life was fair and  I am not looking for those things but I must say, even with my perspectives intact,  I was momentarily felled by how much I felt this year.

I want so much for Elizabeth in her life, first and foremost, I want her to be happy and safe. and as much as I would not like to admit it , going trick or treating made her happy…even at 18 years old.   I think I need to step back and see the big picture…so much growth and good stuff this year, so much to be thankful for, so much to indicate we are on the right track.  I will hold onto those things. I will be thankful for those things.

I asked her today why she likes to go Halloweening and her response was “I just like to go and ring those doorbells.”  I said ” Just ringing the doorbells, nothing else” “No” she said ” I like seeing what they are giving out and talking to everyone”  So my social, sweet child sees Halloween as the chance to visit, and talk.  Who knew?  I know I never really asked her before. Perhaps a lesson for me in all this. I need to acknowledge my feelings and take a moment to talk to her about hers.

I keep learning as Elizabeth keeps growing as a person.  Who knew Trick or Treat would bring so much more.

I wish everyone a peaceful week,

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself