Special Needs Valentines: Who’s On My List

♥ To the dozens and dozens of therapists who have worked with my son, Max, since he was two weeks old with all their smarts, wisdom, resourcefulness and infinite patience for my million questions and demands: Please know that Max wouldn’t be doing nearly as well as he is if it weren’t for you.

♥ To Max’s teachers, who inspire Max to learn—and to love it.

♥ To the aides in Max’s class, who tirelessly help with feeding, toileting and everything and anything Max needs assistance with.

♥ To Steve Jobs, for inventing the iPad which has enabled Max to share the stuff in his mind that his lips cannot speak. You opened up his world.

♥ To Sabrina, the big little sis: I know you mind the extra attention Max gets, and I realize why it makes you want to pull his hair when you think I am not looking. But I also hear the sweet way you talk with him at times and how you instinctively help him when he’s struggling to do something, and I know you love him fiercely.

♥ To the neonatologist who told me, when Max was three months old, that the only other babies he’d met who’d had strokes at birth had crack moms and who said that Max’s future looked “ominous”: For Valentine’s Day, I give you Max and all his awesomeness. If you saw him now, you’d surely be amazed, though I wisely chose never to see you again. Max’s progress defies you.

♥ To the inventors of chocolate ice-cream, because I don’t think there’s ever been a more motivating tool to get Max to do stuff.

♥ To my mother and sister, who have been Max’s cheerleader and champions since the day he was born and who remain his biggest fans and who still think it is highly amusing to put Max’s little sailor cap on him, which they hide in his sock drawer.

♥ To the wine gods, for giving me Pinot Grigio. At the end of a rough day, a glassful is a pretty great Mommy motivational tool. Oh, and I’d also like to thank the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup gods.

♥ To the amazing moms I’ve met online—in the blogosphere, on Twitter and on Facebook—who have given me so much comfort, inspiration and laughs.

♥ To my husband, Dave, who I always knew would be a great dad from the minute we met and who has surpassed every expectation I had. Even when I was in my darkest hours of despair after Max’s birth, you helped me see the wonders of Max. Your eternal optimism balances out my reality checks. Together, we are an unbeatable Team Max. Also: I still think you’re the cutest guy I ever met.

Image of heart on wood texture via Shutterstock

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