My son has cerebral palsy, which means he has physical limitations. Although he is greatly improving, he is delayed in certain areas. He is (mostly) non-verbal, but one area he is not remotely delayed in is his ability to connect with others. My little boy is insanely social and loves being around other people. He has even gone so far as to pick a favorite person.
And I am NOT my son’s favorite person.
And how do I feel about that, you ask? Although it is bittersweet, I absolutely love it. Of course I feel a little bitter about being the one constantly caring for him, being the one to feed him, drive him around, and so on and not being his favorite person — I am mostly kidding — but I truly love that he has found his person. I asked other parents in my special needs parents group to see how they feel about this similar idea. The funny thing is, out of all the people that answered, only one was their child’s favorite. Grandpas seemed to be a common favorite among these kiddos; they must have some type of magic powers.
So what does it mean being my son’s favorite person?
It means that with great power comes great responsibility. It means a lot of playing, constant contact, and a silly four-year-old always invading your personal space. It means not being able to walk out of the room without there being a protest. It may seem needy, but it is one of the greatest compliments this little boy could give a person. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the benefit to me. Being the one that is around my son 24/7, it is nice for the attention to be on someone else when they are around. I get to take a little step back and take a small breath. I can’t complain about that.
To my son’s favorite person,
I know being his favorite can be draining. I know that it is quite a bit of responsibility and it is not something you asked for, and I know it is not always easy. But I want you to understand how important you are and how irreplaceable you are to his life.
Without fail, the mention of your name brings an excitement out in him that is unmatched. You have given him so much joy. He never misses out on roughhousing and playing because of how you have been able to adapt your activities to fit his needs. I will happily stand aside and let you be center stage to him. Your name has become a chant in our house throughout the day, and when you are not around, you are greatly missed. There are regular demands to call you or see you.
Your name has become motivation; he was once a completely non-verbal boy who has learned to verbally request to call you. I am sorry if it gets old being pestered at random times, but know before that there were a lot of requests to reach out to you and we like to reward him for using his voice. So, not only have you become motivation, but you have also become a highly sought after reward. You are truly worth your weight in gold.
Lastly, I want to say thank you dad! Thank you for taking on this responsibility. Thank you for giving us the gift of being able to give our son constant smiles and making him feel so special. To paraphrase Bluey, you should take care of yourself for me because…we still need you. (Granddad episode.)