He Deserves to Live with Dignity and Respect – Finding Cooper’s Voice

And then she said, ‘you are so lucky that your son doesn’t care what he looks like. Or care about the latest trends in clothes or even what his hair looks like. It’s so hard these days to keep up.’ She finished it with, ‘I bet he doesn’t even care what you dress him in…’

I’ve been thinking about that conversation for over a week now.

I know what she was getting at. I know what she was implying.

She was telling me I was lucky that my kid didn’t care or understand what he looks like. Implying that makes life easier. But what she doesn’t know, or understand, is that because he doesn’t care…I care even more. And I will care every single day for the rest of my life.

The word that keeps coming to my mind is dignity.

The dictionary definition being, ‘the state of quality of being worthy of honor or respect.’

My son is 13. He has blonde hair and ruddy cheeks. He loves trains and his favorite yellow t-shirt and jumping on the trampoline.

He loves being tickled and going to school and sleeping with 7 blankets. He has the best laugh you will ever hear.

He was diagnosed with autism when he was 3, nonverbal at age 5 and a whole long list of other things in the years that followed. He doesn’t understand what is cool or trendy. He doesn’t look in the mirror at his appearance.

And he most certainly doesn’t care about fitting in. And, in spite of all that, he will live with dignity and respect because he deserves it.

And I will never give the world ‘another’ reason to tease him. Or count him out.

Everyday we brush his teeth and wash his face. Every night we bathe him and comb his hair and check his body for bruises and marks.

In the morning we dress him in clean, cute clothes. We make sure they are on the right way, and fit, and are adjusted properly. Nothing makes his dad more frustrated than when his waistband is bunched up. He always says, ‘come here buddy, let me fix that for you.’ And then steals a kiss as he fixes it.

His hair is always cutely cut, his shoes always fit and his face and hands are cleaned multiple times a day. Fingernails and toenails trimmed too.

We check his teeth and his ears and every other part you can think off. And we will continue to do so for the rest of his life, because we are his parents.

Because we care.

Because he deserves to live with dignity and respect. And be loved and cared for and treasured like the amazing kid that he is.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook.


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