By Joseph J. Mazzella • January 17, 2024
I was 21 years old sitting in a hospital waiting room trying to keep my fear down. My wife was pregnant but our son was 3 weeks past due and now complications had forced them to do an emergency C-section. I didn’t know if my wife or son was going to survive. After a long time, though, they brought my boy out healthy and breathing. I felt my fear flee and my heart expand with a joy I had never known before. I sighed and thanked God for my baby boy.
Three years later I was sitting in a parked car holding my crying wife. Our son’s language was delayed and his behavior didn’t seem normal. We had taken him to a specialist who told us he was most likely mentally handicapped. The whole world seemed to have collapsed around us. I didn’t know what to do or what would become of my son. I could only cry as I drove us home.
As the years passed, however, I accepted my son for who he was. And I began to see just what a blessing from God he was not just to his mother and me but to the whole world. He had a gentleness about him. He laughed easily. He handed out hugs and love unconditionally. He did begin to speak and although he never talked about anything complicated, he became quite the master at small talk. He touched the hearts of just about everyone he met. His mom, me, his sister, his little brother, his school aide, his teachers, his fellow students both in his Special Education classroom and in the regular school all loved him and the simple joy he shared. He became manager for the football and girl’s basketball teams. He lifted the spirits of the coaches and players alike. And when he finally graduated high school I got him a job at a sheltered workshop so he could continue to touch more hearts with his beautiful soul.
Yes, my first born son may be limited in the eyes of the world but he is limitless in the eyes of God. He has shared more love, joy, laughter, and light in this world than I ever could. And if I had one wish it would be that everyone could love as freely and happily as he does. May we always embrace the “special” teachers of love in this world. They are God’s gift to us all.
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