Kim and Suse (if I could do the highlighted links, I would. But the technology isn't obvious to me.) have recently posted (as have others, I'm sure) their guilt about their special needs sons.
I don't often cry, but I did reading both their posts. I live their guilt. I cry their tears of hopelessness and hopefulness at times.
Oldest is almost 6; is ahead of the curve for reading, writing and empathy. He seems light years older than some of his contemporaries. And also 'school of hard knocks' younger. We have chosen to let our sons live a more gentle life and have controlled their tv viewing, peer group and outside influences. We have elected to delay their entry into primary education by one year, each. They are summer birthday boys, so we feel well within our rights. As a result, they are both very gentle, kind, loving little boys. They are also pretty quiet, as boys go.
Youngest is almost 5; and he is way ahead of the curve in math and numerical skills. But very much at the bottom of the rung for speech, interaction and social skills. He arrived at 7 months of age to our family; and he was very ill with ear infections for the first 7 months he was with us. He also was a very needy child; very clingy to me to the point that I had to run out of the house to escape; screamed if he couldn't see me, and wouldn't tolerate variations in any part of his routine. Didn't he UNDERSTAND that there were 2 babies in the house (Oldest is not quite 11 months older)? That I was flipped out by 2 babies in 2 years? That K's job still meant 60-70 hours of week a week, even though he tried to work less? That I didn't know he was a different baby, and needed so much more of me? I look at photos of our family back in the early days of being the Four of Us, and want to sob. Youngest looks bewildered, sad and lost. I look the same, frequently. In some of them, I am tearing Youngest's hands off me; I simply couldn't take one more minute of his clinging, pinching grasp. In some of the photos, Oldest is trying to comfort Youngest, which really makes me sob; the Baby is trying to comfort the Baby. Why didn't I see then that Youngest was different, that he needed some professional help? Why did it take friends of mine saying "Hey, he should be doing "x" by now - do you think you should have him evaluated?" and then finally getting the appointment, but then it took Four More Months to get him in? Then putting up with what was 'offered' vs. 'demanding' what he should have gotten, early on? How much time have we lost because I was too scared, too much in denial, too LAZY to do more research? How much have I set him back permanently due to being angry with him most of his very young life, parking him in front of videos to get a break, feeding him the wrong food, not getting intervention sooner?
But, I have forgiven myself, mostly. I did the best I could. His skills fooled me into thinking he was ahead of himself. He walked at 9 months, ran actually. He could count to 30 when he was 19 months old - nevermind that was the only talking he was doing. He didn't make eye contact with us, but he was avidly taking apart things and putting them back together - isn't he gifted?
But the one thing that I did, the deal that I made with the Devil that I will never forgive myself for, was having surgery on his foot to correct Syndactyly - connected toes. The surgery was successful, but who knew about Asians and Keloids? That a keloid on the foot would be a horrible, terrible thing? That it would be inoperable to repair, and would continue to grow, as that's what keloids do? That it would mean he could not walk properly, as putting pressure on that huge keloid causes him great pain? That it would affect him for quite probably, the rest of his life? This is the biggest grief that I carry. That it was elective surgery, and I made the election for him when he was too young to vote. And it may hurt him forever. All the other things I can forgive myself for, but for this surgery, I cannot. I think I have forgiven myself, and then he limps towards me, and I die. A. Thousand. Times.