He would pop that bubble wrap over and over again until tempted to roll him up in it. He even figured out that rolling over it with his wheelchair made popping sounds without interruption. He loved the popping noise and the louder the better. Actually he just loved noise. I can remember trying to teach him the difference between noise that was necessary and noise that wasn’t! Now I can laugh at such wasted energy. Isn’t it funny how something once found so annoying is the very thing I now long for; just some plain and simple kid noise.
Michael’s death produced a premature and often confusing empty nest scenario for me. Adjusting the empty nest radar is one of the many things you learn to alter with a child who has special needs. That particular altering wasn’t too difficult since Michael use to proudly proclaim he planned to live at home until he was forty! I can recall him asking us if once he got married, could he and his wife live in our basement. As I began to live life without Michael, hidden in my subconscious was the blaring reality that I will never finish parenting my son. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by the lives of many other children, which comes as a tremendous blessing to a lonely mothering heart, yet makes it imperative to consistently assess boundaries and motives.
In my life, having another child to parent provides a motivation to keep moving forward. It offered acceleration to some of the grief process despite the intense sadness. Our daughter Jessica graduated from high school and left to college only fifteen months after Michael's death. I recognized it was the fresh new start she desperately needed, forcing us to look for one too, but it created a stifling quiet. All of a sudden it wasn’t just Michael's noise missing, all the noise was gone. It made me realize I really did like noise and led me to continue the legacy of a noise maker.
Celebrate BWAD this week, in honor of all the noise makers out there. Pop a few sheets of bubble wrap and make some noise. Don’t limit or be silenced in the ways you create noise, especially when it involves something you’re passionate about. Make it a distinctive sound we should all hear to Be the Change.