Would I have aborted you if I could see your future? You were born picture perfect with blue eyes and blond hair. You spoke in sentences by age one so I knew you were special. But it was a funny incident when you were four years old that still sticks in my mind. I took you to preschool and another little boy called you “a stupid kid.” That’s right, “A stupid kid.” And my reaction? Why, I beamed with joy. You see, all I wanted was a normal, stupid kid—just a regular little boy who would grow up, go to college, have a career, a family. You didn’t have to be a genius even though you were with your 159 IQ.
Just a regular kid, that’s all I wanted since my first child died soon after birth due to a severe brain abnormality. So when that other boy said those words I thought, I did it. I actually had a normal child. But I was so very wrong.
Just before your twentieth birthday you underwent a radical change: you looked different, you stopped making sense, you walked camelback on leaden legs. Oh, there were ups and downs over the years, but you eventually became a stranger, and I still miss the old Sam so much.
Recently at a family reunion, we saw your cousins. They have careers and families. Even your younger brother has now finished law school, but you, without even speaking, scream mental illness with your ill-fitting clothes and disheveled hair. It took me a week to recover from that reunion, to not want to throw myself from a roof.
I try to find a reason for hope, but, in truth, I can’t find one, and if I could have prevented my own birth I would have, gladly, rather than live without knowing happiness.
When you were little and the fireworks went off to celebrate Independence Day, I’d tell you they were celebrating your birthday, even though you were born on the third. You’d laugh, and your two dimples would deepen. I can’t see your dimples anymore, Sam; they’re hidden behind your scruffy beard.
So would I have aborted you? I think I’ll pull a Scarlett O’Hara and put it off until later because birthdays are supposed to be the time to celebrate specialness. And you are special, Sam. Maybe not special in the way I had hoped, but special nonetheless. So, happy birthday, Sammy boy, and, yes, I do love you. I love you and your brother equally. Really! I even like you. It’s just that the challenge is more than I’m equipped to handle. But I’m still your mother and will keep doing what mothers do: love their children as best they can.