Thankful #3: Jonathan

Today I am thankful for my son, Jonathan.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the waiting room of his therapist’s office, waiting for the 45 minutes to be up some can go home.

Jonathan has seen a lot of therapists and specialists and doctors and psychologists since we met him just under six years ago. He was about to have his fourth birthday at the time. Just after his birthday, he moved in with us, and about a year later, we went to the courthouse and officially adopted him.

He had a rough start to life, and he came to us with a lot of baggage. He’s still working through it all, and we still have a long way to go. That’s all on top of some physical medical issues that will likely never go away. Some of his diagnoses include reactive attachment disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, autism, organic brain damage, and expressive/receptive speech disorder. And that list isn’t exhaustive.

Raising Jonathan is hard. Some days it’s really hard and I don’t know if I can do it. By giving up isn’t an option, so we all press ahead, even when he’s defiant and demanding and aggressive. We choose to live for the moments when he’s quiet and charming and sweet. And they do happen. Maybe not as often as we’d like, but they do happen. Some days it seems like life will always be like this, and for all we know it will be.

But I’m thankful because Jonathan has taught me a lot. Aside from lots of information about various disorders, I’ve learned about unconditional love. My daughter Grace is easy to love, and she loves back without reservation. With Jonathan, love is a choice. When he hits and kicks and screams, I choose to love him. Because adopted or not, blood relation or not, I’m his dad, and that’s what dads do. They love their kids no matter what.

Today I am thankful for Jonathan.

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