I worry constantly about what the future holds for our children, especially for our first born. Having a child with special needs and having one without, there are major differences when it comes to what we as parents worry about with each one.
With my daughter, I can picture her graduating high school and going off to college (but not too far…). I see her finding true love and doing something she loves for the rest of her life. With my son, it’s different. I don’t know how far he will progress by the end of the school year, let alone how he will be once he is at the age to graduate high school. Will he be able to go to college and graduate? Maybe, but not likely. Will he be able to live a productive life? Absolutely. Will he be able to find true love? Well, it is all according to how you define “true love.”
When I think about “true love”, I think about a verse in the bible – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
I hear this verse often in weddings. The truth is true love does not necessarily mean marriage. It’s more than the public devotion that comes with a piece of paper. It can be a strong bond, a friendship. Individuals with special needs want to have friends. But it’s not so easy for people with special needs to find meaningful friendships with others. Some are shunned because of physical differences. Others have social and communication deficits that make it difficult to start and keep friendships.
Regardless, I have no doubt in my mind that one day our son will find “true love”. I know that it may not come easy, but I know he is more than capable to love and to be loved in return. His true love may not come in the form of marriage, and for me that’s okay. If someone can love him unconditionally and care for his wellbeing in the same way I do, he will be a lucky man. And they will be a lucky person to have him in their life. I know I am.