“Mom. Microwave?”

It took me three tries to guess what Maura was saying, because I wasn’t hearing “microwave” the first two times. It didn’t come out as “microwave” – some consonants were missing.

But third time was a charm. And assessing the situation – Maura standing with a plate of cold leftovers in the kitchen – helped me put it all together.

“You want me to heat up your food in the microwave?”


Maura is always proud of me when I figure out what she says.

Part of why I didn’t get the word the first two times is because I wasn’t expecting it. Maura doesn’t say many words that are more than 2 syllables, and she’s never asked for the microwave itself.

That day she did.

And I was paying attention.

I always have to pay attention with Maura. Because I don’t always know what she’s learning, and what she will come out with. What I do know is that she’s still learning. She is still coming up with new words, new skills, new abilities.

She is fifteen years old. She is still learning.

It’s easy to get caught up in all they haven’t learned when you’re raising a child diagnosed with some sort of special need. You’re even told how if they haven’t done this skill by this age (usually age five for some reason) that the odds of them every managing that skill drop to ridiculously low numbers. You’re reminded of the goals they haven’t met yearly at IEPs and doctor appointments. You’re constantly shown examples of how far behind they are in comparison to their peers just by looking at them. I wouldn’t even have to leave home for that last example. Maura’s older sister could be a great reminder of all Maura isn’t doing.

But where does all that get anyone?

Therapy. It gets one into therapy.

I made a choice years ago to not compare Maura to others. Really, there is no comparison for her. She learns at her own pace – but the important thing is she learns. She is still learning. She is still figuring out life. And honestly, isn’t that really the most normal of things? Because I’m still learning, and trying to figure out life too.

My mother tells the story of the rose bushes she planted the spring before I was born. The others bloomed beautifully, but there was one that didn’t produce a single rose all summer. In October, I was born, and the day my parents brought me home from the hospital, that rosebush caught my mom’s eye. There, on a cold October day, that rosebush had finally bloomed, the pink rose catching snowflakes on its petals.

It had finally bloomed.

Maura is like that rosebush – she blooms at her own rate, bringing beauty and color to a sometimes cold, dreary world. And I’m thankful to be able to watch her bloom. She reminds me that I, too, still have the ability to bloom some more.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash [image description – a pinkish-white rose in a dark background]