Support for all members of special needs families

The Unprodigal Son

IMG_0962bI was told once, many years ago, that someday he would break my heart. And two years ago, when he moved 700 miles away to live with his father, it was assumed that the person who’d said that was right. Of course I missed him unceasingly, had this relentless longing for my sweet, easy boy (even though he was the most difficult child to feed), but instead of letting fear get in the way, I let him go with love and unending support to do what he needed to do. And that boy, the one who was predicted to break my heart, has done nothing all his life but mend it.


Aidan is seventeen today, and we are going out to dinner to celebrate. He moved back to southern Oregon two months ago, said “the city” (what he calls Los Angeles) was fun for visits, but he was tired of living there. Next week we register him at the local high school where all of his friends from middle school have gone. They, along with Aidan, have two years left. It’s been so enjoyable to watch him get back in touch with everyone, social person that he is. He’s reestablishing his identity here.

And he has been reestablishing his relationship with me as well. He’s never been more open with me as he is now. There is an ease about him, a level of confidence, of generosity. He healed one wound and now that we, for once in our lives, have some one-on-one time, he is perhaps healing another. I can’t imagine how it was for him, all his life, living in Nigel’s shadow, getting only a fraction, a sliver, of time that other siblings could reasonably expect from other single parents. And now, he has me. Like the Biblical father, I couldn’t be happier about his return.


I sit at my desk, slumped over spreadsheets, and sigh. Aidan walks in behind me, talking about his video game du jour, sees the state I’m in, and immediately puts his arms around me and kisses my head. “You okay, Mom?” It’s all I can do not to cry as I realize what a gift Aidan is to me. I had grown so used to Nigel never soliciting hugs and stiffly tolerating them when I, desperate for contact, would reach out to him. And I know he couldn’t help it and he did the best he could, and still does. I love my boys equally, always have. But the inescapable truth is that whether Aidan has anything to heal in himself or not, whether he knows it or not, he is healing me.

16 thoughts on “The Unprodigal Son”

  • Happy Birthday to Aidan! Sounds like you two will have a wonderful celebratory dinner. Have fun!!!

  • This is beautiful, Tanya! What a wonderful son you have. A very happy birthday to Aiden. 🙂

  • Tanya, it is so great to read about how well Aidan is doing up there, reconnecting with friends and enjoying life. I hope he has a very happy birthday!

  • This is beautiful, Tanya, and made me tear up. So glad you two have this precious time together.

  • Tanya, oh how this makes me ache and scream for joy in all the same breath. I cannot imagine how much it means to you to finally be given an opportunity to know your son. Coming back has been a blessing and I am so grateful he chose this path. Getting to truly experience him is the icing on the cake. I’m sure it makes you feel accomplished. I know in my very differing experiences with my boys, I am very, very grateful for the Jari I get to unravel every day. Our sibling kids have been put under so much stress and worry, and when they are given the opportunity to breathe, the show the people they have become. My Jari gives me more laughter than any other person in the world. The bond we share is extra special due to the circumstances we’ve endured with Kaeden. And he is such an awesome kid, because of it and without regard for it (it being autism). I too love both my kids equally and unconditionally, but with Jari there is an ease about it I don’t get to have with Kaeden, and it’s so refreshing.
    I’m so happy for you Tanya. I wish you both a comfortable, happy journey in discovering each other again. Hugs!

  • Smiling through the sniffs! I am so very happy for you, Tanya, and am glad that Aidan is back home and healing your heart. XOXO Hugs to you both, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Aidan! 🙂

  • Happy Birthday Aiden! We love you all so much and have been blessed all these years to have you guys in our lives. Each one of you is unique and beautiful!! may your journey be a filled with all you desire. xoxo

  • Oh, this is fabulous Tanya! By letting him go he happily returned 😉

    NOT an easy thing to do as a mum and I know letting your 13 year old go away to another country with the scouts for a whole 7 days doesn’t even come close, but there is a similarity, however slight.

    There’s truth in taht old saying…. ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ 🙂

    So happy for you!

    xx Jazzy

  • beautiful post tanya, glad that he is back and that you’re both enjoying the transition, i’m sure then mending is going both ways. thx for this update.

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