The Price of Independence

“Mom, fun!”

His all blue uniform made it seem like he coordinated for the holiday. In reality, he just liked blue. And uniforms. And fireworks. Food. People. Laughter.

“Stay together!”

The beach wasn’t very crowded. We didn’t like crowded beaches. Our son’s special needs made me nervous that he’d get lost in large crowds, so much so that I often wrote my cell number on his arm in black sharpie pen in case we got separated.

Where were the sparklers?

Despite my youngest son’s special needs, he was very capable of enjoying himself on the beach. And could even hold a sparkler if I supervised. I supervised.

The sound of family.

Usually my awareness of the needs of my kids, especially my son with special needs, is like a hair trigger with a ready thumb. I’ve got it.

Sea of blue. Water. Shirts. Chairs.

Running back, I whispered in tense tones to everyone in our party. They fanned out.



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Melissa J. Hogan

Melissa J. Hogan


Lawyer. Author, “Afraid of the Doctor: Every Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Managing Medical Trauma.” Find me at