Just A Little Patience

While catching up with an old friend recently, after exchanging the usual pleasantries, the conversation turned to Kohl.  After asking the standard “how’s he doing” type questions, she hit me with something unexpected.

“What’s the biggest lesson he has taught you,” she asked.

The question caught me a little off guard, but I was surprised at how quickly I answered it.

“Patience,” I responded, almost automatically.

Kids are wise little people who tend to teach parents fundamental virtues we have always known about, but about which we need constant reminders.  Kohl is no different.

Yoda, Dr. Phil, Mr. Miyagi, you are all wise in your own right.  But you have nothing on this guy.

I believe patience is one of those virtues all parents re-learn, particularly when their kids reach the toddler and talking back stage.  Kohl is not mobile yet, so is he not exploring the wonders of fireplaces or sharp objects in the kitchen.  Nor is he vocal, so he is certainly not talking back to us (yet).  Those are the ways new parents typically have their patience tested.

But Kohl has taught us patience in many other ways from the old food strike of 2012 which was not resolved until April of 2013 in the form of a G-tube.  Or his outright refusal to use his hands for any functional movement.  Then there are always the sleepless nights he causes which, thankfully, occur far less frequently than they used to.

And the ultimate test of patience, with which every special-needs-parent is familiar, is seeing your child fall behind the curve in just about every measurable category of childhood development.  But comparing your child to others is a bad idea under any circumstance and an even worse idea when you have one with special needs.  It is a natural tendency that we are all guilty of at one time or another, but it is a dangerous, self-destructive approach.

Which is why Kohl’s preferred approach is for us to remain positive and simply celebrate the wins along the way, no matter how small they seem.  And to recognize the fact that these little people are magnificent creatures that will reach milestones at their own pace, but are nevertheless capable of awe-inspiring things.  That is something we need to be reminded of constantly.   So it’s a good thing we have this sage little fellow to do that reminding.

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