You hear different things when you're a special needs parent. I hear a lot of "Oh." and "I'm sorry." Those ones I don't mind too much, but the one that really bugs me is "I feel sorry for him."
The last time someone said this to me, I said, "Don't. Dakin's happy as he can be."
And really, he is. I mean, what's to be pitied? Sure, he can't walk or breathe on his own, BUT:
He is surrounded by things intended to fire his imagination and spark his interest.
He is encircled by people who love him.
He has a warm, safe place to sleep.
He has healthy food (or as healthy as we can get him to eat, anyway. :) )
He is read to.
He is sung to.
He is cuddled when he cries.
He is spoken to in kind voices.
He has a mother who lives at his beck and call.
He has a father who plays with him.
He is taken to wonderful places, like the zoo, the library and Whole Foods (which is my idea of heaven!!)
He is included.
He is understood.
He has people who pray for him.
He has grandparents who adore him.
He gets to watch his favorite shows.
He is encouraged.
He is snuggled.
He lives in a clean home.
He is taught.
He wears clean clothes.
He regularly sees his doctors.
He is played with.
He has a sense of humor.
He has wonderful nurses.
He is safe in his home.
Those around him have Germ-X in the blood now from efforts to keep him healthy.
He has people who have sacrificed for him.
He has everything he needs.
He is laughed with.
And perhaps most importantly, he is deeply, fiercely and immensely loved.
I could go on and on and on. I don't think it's any secret that there are far, far too many children who don't have a tenth of the things Dakin does. So no need to feel sorry, shop check-out lady or waitress. Just look at his smile. It tells the whole tale.