Progress is Not a Steady Forward March

Progress is never linear and it is often never in a single direction. I’ve never been more aware of this as I have become, walking the path of a special needs parent. I came into this process thinking that once we received diagnoses, we would formulate a plan, work the plan, and move steadily forward. But progress does not look like a steady forward march.

Progress is reaching the top of a mountain and shouting to the world that you are making it! And then having a ram slam into your butt and send you tumbling head over heels down that mountain that you had spent weeks, months, years climbing and spilling your blood sweat and tears into.

Progress is reaching the finish line of a marathon, only to be told that some unseen officials had moved that line after you started the race.

Progress is up and down, loops, and moving backwards and taking hard turns in completely different directions.

There is no moment when you get to be “done”. There is no arrival. There is no magical milestone to reach that will bring an end to this fight.

All of these new ideas of progress often feel like failure to me. It’s not what I thought progress would look like. But after a tumble down that mountain, when I land at the bottom gripping my sweet boy for dear life and look into his eyes…I do not dare accept or teach him that this is failure. I do not dare tell him that his work fell short.

I teach him instead that progress is painful.

Progress is a constant process.

Progress is getting back up at the bottom of that mountain and beginning the climb again.

Progress is fixing your eyes on that new mark in the race and running on.

Progress is finding the beauty in the moments you would have missed if you had simply marched forward instead of zigging and zagging and doubling back to catch what you missed the first time around.

Progress is not in any achievement. Progress is in the process, the trying, the fighting.

As long as my lungs have air, I will never stop trying, fighting, learning, and growing for you. And my boy, that is progress. YOU are making such great progress! As long as you are still trying, fighting, learning, and growing, you are never failing. Your progress is enough. Your journey is enough. YOU are enough. Exactly. The. Way. You. Are.

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