I’m having a hard time settling down tonight.
We had an appointment today regarding one of our kids. This is not our first time having an appointment like this but I don’t think they get any easier.
As parents, we want to see the best in our kids. We talk to other parents about their achievements. A typical parent may brag about their child being on the honour roll or a sports club their child was invited to be a part of. They may share about the recognition their child received in Cadets or Guides.
Special needs parents want to share about the wonders of our children, too. But our pride may be in the fact that our child spoke at 8 years old, or learned to tie their shoe laces at 14, or shared a beloved and sacred item with a sibling. We are ecstatic (and often terrified) when they get invited to a birthday party or for a play date .
Would you even consider bragging that your child got invited to a birthday party or for a play date? It’s ok if that would never cross your mind, it just means that we function in different circles, on this great earth of ours.
Here’s something else that’s different…..
Parents of typical kids will probably never experience this situation, and if that is you, count yourself blessed. It’s a special kind of hell to go to an appointment and speak and share about all the ways your child is missing the mark. To spend a couple of hours talking “down” about your child. To fill in form, after form, after form, about all the things your child can’t do, and specifically doesn’t do, well.
You almost have to disassociate from yourself to do this. But you MUST do this, in order to get your child the supports they need.
So you do it, regardless of the fact that it goes against every parental instinct to cherish and protect. You dig out all the dirt and ugliness; and you lay it out there for all to see.
It’s hard because it’s not like you don’t know that there are things your child struggles with, but when you put it all together in one pile, at one time…..it’s overwhelming; and frankly, soul crushing.
That pile of crap in that picture up above……it’s all the stuff I swept out from under my couch. Some of it is garbage. Some of it is useful. Some is necessary. Some was misplaced.
It’s easier to know it’s there; but to only focus on what’s in front of you. If the room looks okay, then it’s good, right?
Its when you sweep it all out into the open that you are faced with a challenge. You can start sorting and do the work and effort that’s required to place things in order. You can throw it all out. Or You can sweep it back under.
You can’t throw “this situation” out or throw “this” away; and ignoring it doesn’t work out well for anyone. There really is only one appropriate option and that’s to put in the time and effort and to “sort things out”. As a parent of special needs children, those are two things that I have the smallest reserves of……time and energy!
But I will get up tomorrow and try to figure out what the next steps are because that is what you do when you love someone with all your heart and soul. When your goal is to help them succeed and be the very best “them” that they can be; you do whatever you can do.
If you have children with disabilities, you’re either nodding in agreement or horrified at what you may soon be asked to do.
If you don’t have children with disabilities, know that your friends, acquaintances, those parents……..they go through things that are tough. They do things that no parent ever wants to do; and they do it so they can afford their child the best in life. But those parents, they are tired. They are often overwhelmed. They may feel like they’ve betrayed the wonder and beauty of their child, in the name of “support”. The hardest part is that that there are no guarantees. You may not get the supports that are needed and then it feels like it was all for nothing; and that’s REALLY tough.
Parents of typical kids, I’m sharing so you can know…….so you can be aware…..so you can show compassion.
Not pity. Not ever pity.
But awareness, seeking to understand, and compassion are huge gifts that you can give us parents of kids with differences.
- Be aware
- Seek to understand
- Have compassion
- Be kind – Always Be kind!