My special needs sons first date

Thank you to the tall, beautiful girl…. who was willing to show kindness and make my son smile.

I am a mother of 5 kids, our oldest son Matthew is special needs.  Not every parent of a special needs child will tell you right away that their child is “special”. I am not sure why I say it so freely, but I suppose it is because I am not ashamed he is different. To me, it is like saying he has brown hair or likes to play baseball, it is just part of who he is.  We love every part  of him.

But that has been a process, for a long time I hoped he would catch up. I hoped he would be the same as his peers. He has major health issues, missing half his heart, but that did not mean he would have learning and social delays because he is twice exceptional.  Admitting he was special needs almost seemed like I was giving up on him. Maybe if I did not say it out loud, he would in fact magically  catch up and just be “normal”.

Matthew turned 16 last year, which means he can now start group dating.  Kind of a big milestone for a teen. But in order to go on a date you need someone to go with. Matthew has lots of friends and is well liked. But going on a date gave him major anxiety. Plus he has no interest in “girls” just yet. He might be 16, but emotionally is more like a typical eight year old.

This summer his cousin Rachel told him she wanted to go on a group date with him.  Just the word date sent him into a little tailspin. She could see that made him nervous. She then found out that he LOVES to fish, so she instead invited him to a group fishing trip. Which caused a HUGE smile to come across his face. He was so excited that he was invited and that he would get to go fishing.

Matthew came home put it on his calendar and each day would count down to his big “group fishing trip”.  I loved seeing how excited he was. I loved that his sweet cousin would think to include him. I loved that he got to feel part of something, and feel important.

We talked a lot with Matthew about how to act. He wanted to make sure he had clean clothes, he brushed his teeth 3-4 times before he left. He also wanted some gum, he wanted hairspray so his hair would look nice. Remember he has no interest in romance, he just wanted to be a good fishing budding, lol.

As he watched for the car to come, and he paced in front of the window. I could not help but smile, I loved him being so excited. And I loved seeing him get to do something “normal” kids get to do.

But then part of me worried, what about the girl that will be his date. Does she know he is “special”. Will she be kind, will she be understanding that this is super important to him. Will she feel uncomfortable, I wanted her to have fun too?

The group finally came to pick him up. Out of the drivers seat walks a tall, beautiful  girl.  A girl that clearly has no trouble finding a date on a Saturday night. Then she smiled and bent down to shake Matthews hand (since he was WAY shorter than her). At that moment all my worried went away, as I saw not only was she beautiful on the outside, but inside as well.

With his arms wrapped around his tackle box, and a pocket full of cash to buy his date dinner, off they drove.

As it came time for their date to end, this time it was our whole family pacing by the windows wanting to know how his date went. He came bursting in, with a huge smile. He had a wonderful time. He felt so important and wanted to tell us all about it.

It is moments like this that I dreamed for,  and prayed would come when he was critically ill as a baby. I just wanted a happy, healthy boy.

Thank you to the tall, beautiful girl…. who was willing to show kindness and make my son smile.

For more stories about our son or his journey with hypoplastic left heart syndrome you can read our “ I am a heart mom” section.