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Hudson's Journey: "EXTRA Empathy"


Hudson is my hero; however, you don’t need superpowers to sense other people’s emotions or need a power to tell you what someone else might be thinking or feeling. It’s called “empathy”. Some have these senses more than others. It took me being a momma to a child with special needs to truly have my power to see it, or not, in others so clearly. 

If your child fell and scraped their knee, you would likely tell them that you know it hurts. That you are sorry. You would probably blow on it, kiss it, make it feel better. You would let them know that you can feel that pain, too. It’s not sympathy, it’s empathy that they need. 

My child does not need your sympathy or your turned cheek when he’s hurting. He is just like every other child that needs love and reassurance that he will be okay. When you don’t try and imagine what he is feeling or thinking, you are not seeing him. 

This “empathy” word has been weighing heavily on me lately. I can give everything Hudson needs to live, be happy, provide comfort, communicate and embrace who Hudson was born to be… but many others can’t or won’t. So my efforts become limited to only a few who can understand how Hudson feels, communicate with him, see him and accept him. 

If you don’t have empathy, how will you inspire my hero to shine his brightest. Hudson will fall. He will struggle to show you when his iPad is dead or malfunctioning. He will cry out when his tummy hurts. He will grab snacks and shake the bag until you open it to give him some. He will cry and you will have to guess until you figure it out… that is, if you figure it out. 

I have never prayed for Hudson to be different than who he was born to be. I wouldn’t change one hair on his head or one extra beautiful feature he was gifted; however, I did pray recently, for the first time, that he could one day be able to use some words. I was snuggling with Hudson as I was praying this; the tears of guilt for even asking made his head look like he just got out of the pool. Why was this my prayer? If I don’t want to change Hudson at all, why ask for this? Well… 

We recently were hit with the whole house stomach bug. It was brutal and ongoing, not the 24 hour kind. Hudson usually picks up every illness he comes across; he doesn’t have a great immune system and he loves to lick his hands, too. When your child hurts like this and he can’t tell you what he needs, you feel completely helpless. As his mom, I can communicate pretty well… unless he is sick. Then it is truly try and try again. 

Hudson can’t tell me if his sock isn’t on correctly. He can’t tell me what hurts or if he stubbed his toe. Hudson can’t tell me he’s hot or cold. He can’t share if his head hurts or if he put a lego up his nose (this hasn’t happened, thankfully). This list goes on and on. Unless it’s a visible need, it might go unnoticed and this part kills me. I live with constant worry that I have missed something. 

Hudson might never talk. He might never get to tell me that he loves me using his voice. Even though he can’t use words yet, he does a wonderful job showing me how much he loves his life. It’s seen in his giggles, in smiles and definitely felt in his powerful kisses. His joy can be seen without words. 

I am finding a lot of the world desensitized to having empathy; it is a very selfish time today. Taking time to look at someone and guess what they might be thinking or feeling takes little effort, but many don’t outside of their own lives. I have watched moms on this journey struggle to carry the heavy that can be felt in daily life. I always thought that that would never be me, that I would carry it differently; my shoulders can’t afford chips if I want to carry this load the distance for Hudson. I don’t want your sympathy either. Empathy of warmth and compassion would go a long way. A better understanding of why I might decline an invitation to something; I want to go and love being invited, it might just not work. Or assuming I won’t come and therefore not even asking. Or if you change a date or time and I forget, my mental capacity is maxed out most days. Grace is always good for moms like me. 

The opposite of empathy is callous, heartless, inhuman, hard, insensitive, indifferent, and inhumane. When a mom is trying to be present in her world, change the world and not be angry at the world, see her. Know that you would deserve someone seeing you, experiencing your pain and joy, if you needed them to. Empathy is heartbreaking, but it makes us human. The one word describing empathy I don’t want is your pity. My life is one you may never experience and for that, I have EXTRA empathy that you’ll never know a love that I have.