Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I am Dylan Hockley's Mother

His small & perfect life ended in the arms of his beloved school aide under a hail of bullets. His aide Annne Marie Murphy is a name I will keep close in my mind right next to Dylan's and right next to the name of my own son, Lincoln.

When I heard about what was happening in Newtown, my mind raced to the exit plans I would will upon my children if they were ever in the same hellish space. Penelope. Penelope is small and quick; the girl can move! I imagined her taking flight out of a window, contorting into the tiniest of cabinets. I imagined her alive. Then Ruby, strong as steel and a mind full of clarity. I could picture her jedi-mind tricking any assailant into giving up their seige or better yet: Taking the bastard down with her big, sturdy hands. But Lincoln. Oh, god, my baby boy.

We have a family joke that if the zombies come, we'd have to carry Lincoln because he's just not that fast. It's also true that he'd jump into a shark tank so he could touch his beloved beasts. He'd walk through a lion's cage to pet the beautiful feline.

Lincoln has no fear, no preconceived notions of hate and terror. He is peace, beauty & love. His disability doesn't provide for quick reactions and decision making. He isn't wired to take flight or fight in an instant like typical people are. Like all of our children do, Lincoln needs protection and then some. He needs protection to the nth degree.

Putting our children out into the world to attend school, take gymnastics lessons, go to the mall with friends, see a movie, go on a field trip, to experience life without us in any way can be a terrifying proposition. But we do it and we get used to it and they love it and they grow and move and change and become better, wiser people because of it.

Putting our special needs children out into the world is a leap of faith that is an acutely different affair. The trust, the patience, the worry, the angst is of a wholly different flavor.

But so often, magic happens and our special babies get phenomenal facilities, teachers and aides to shepherd them along with love and grace and gratitude for being able to do the job of teaching and caring for a child with special needs.

Dylan Hockley's parents made great choices for their son and they won the jackpot with his aide Anne Marie.

I can picture the scene (though I want to scrub it clean from my mind). A sweet boy, so unsure of what was happening, not able to react. I see my son. I see my son cradled in the arms of his guardian, having loving and caring words breathed into his ear, his last moments a little less horrific.

I will think of you often, Dylan and I will hold every caregiver of my son to the standard set by your precious Anne Marie.