The Mysteries of My Son


About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”


The four youngest kids are in bed, and I get into the shower as Michael runs to the store.  About ten minutes later when I step from the shower, the first thing I hear is Finn’s wailing from across the house.  I quickly dry off and dress and rush to his room, where I see him in the dim light of his nightlight, sitting up in his crib sobbing. I pick him up and settle with him in the rocking chair where his little body still heaves with his sobs.  “What’s wrong, Finn?  What’s the matter?”  But he can’t tell me.  “Shhhhh . . . it’s okay, it’s okay . . .” I rub his back and he gradually grows heavy against me, finally dozing, still occasionally hiccupping with his spent crying.

Was it a bad dream?  He had only been in his crib for twenty minutes or so – hardly long enough for a bad dream to have gotten hold of him.  And what would he have a bad dream about, anyway?  I’m not sure he has any understanding of danger yet, and I have no idea how active or capable his imagination is.  Was he just suddenly overcome with loneliness?  Did his tummy hurt?

Eventually I put him back in his crib, pulling the covers up to his chin, watching his face now peaceful in sleep.  I still don’t know why he was crying, and so fiercely.  And this is certainly not the first time this has happened.  So many things about Finn remain a mystery to me.  As much as he is one of us, as much as from day-to-day and moment-to-moment, we hardly think about his differences, on some level it’s always there, and sometimes it’s brought into sharp relief: he’s like a foreigner traveling in a strange land without an interpreter.

I know the landscape of his personality, and I can usually figure out what he wants when he wants something, but for all the words he’s added to his lexicon in the almost four years he’s been on this earth, communication remains elusive, and I suspect it always will to some degree.  I don’t know what he thinks about, what he imagines.  I don’t know what monsters lurk in his room at night and set him to howling every so often.  He can’t explain it to me, and so I am left guessing, and doing the best I can to make it all better for him.

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10 Comments on “The Mysteries of My Son”

  1. M
    May 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    I love your writing.

    • Lisa
      May 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Thank you 🙂

  2. Alyson
    May 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I think that is my biggest obstacle. Not knowing everything going on in Cullen’s head. Then of course putting him in the care of others during the school day and not knowing “everything” going on. I do believe Finn will be able to communicate more and more as time goes on. However just like our “typical” children some things may always be a mystery.

  3. CJ Field (@DontLickMe)
    May 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Very eloquently put! I think a LOT of us can relate to this!

  4. Jessica Watson (@JessBWatson)
    May 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Gorgeous post. I have two children with special needs, one who had no speech for years and now has plenty and the other whose speech has developed normally but they are both a mystery to me in so many ways. It’s hard to not always know what they need.

  5. Vonda
    May 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    My son Noah is 13 with Ds, and he has always been a “I need to get up at least 7 times each night” kinda boy. He still, on occasion will get up, and come to our room. But now, he tells us the big secret “I just need to see you”. So he does, and we walk him back to his bed, until the next time that he “needs to see us”, and the routine continues. So maybe Finn, just needed to see you. 🙂

  6. Garden of My Heart
    May 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    This is probably the hardest thing for me when it comes to Down syndrome. Like you, I feel “in tune” enough to know when she’s upset, but sometimes my heart breaks that she can’t explain why. It may not always be that way, but I do wish I could take care of the monsters under her bed right now.

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hannah
    May 17, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I completely agree, and at times feel almost silly that I don’t know more about what goes on in my little Flynn’s head. As he has gotten older things do become clearer. Just yesterday, when I mentioned that we needed to go and see his ENT the next day to check out his sore ear, he told me “Flynn home”. No I said we will go to see the Dr at her work. “Not hospital”, he continues, “Mai Mai (little sister) Gran and Pop … Mum, Dad in Dadda’s vroom vroom.” The Dadda and I looked at each other, remembered the last time he saw this particular Dr, at the hospital to put in grommets (tubes), while his little sister was looked after at Gran and Pops and he came home asleep in Dad’s car. This all occured 9 months ago. This leaves me hoping that I give him the time and space that he needs to communicate with me, and that I listen (whether he is talking through words, gesture or mood).

  8. Stacey
    May 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    I have nothing to add to the conversation except that I love that photo! What a big, beautiful smile. Whatever bothered him was obviously soothed by mama’s loving arms.

  9. Linda Kirkwood
    May 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m a new follower of your blog. My hat’s off to you raising six children and another on the way. Whew! I raised three–two girls and one boy–ages 27, 23, 21 respectively. Believe it or not, I found your blog by googling “reviews of Bloom.” I’ve followed KH blog for about a year now. I do enjoy reading how the ‘other half live’ and discovering all the things I didn’t do and should have done as a mother! Nothing at all against KH, but I like you find her life the exception and probably not the norm when it comes to raising a DS child. But, my point, I appreciate all perspectives in life, whether I agree with them or not. I call myself Christian but fault no one who believes otherwise. I like the way you express yourself. And I admire where you are in life and how you rose above all of life’s obstacles to arrive in that place. Nice getting to know you in cyberland! Take care. Happy birthing!

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