As the parent of a medically complex kid there is, hands down, one thing I hear more then anything else…
“I don’t know how you do it, I don’t think I could.”
You could, I promise.
You could parent a special needs child.
When the universe chooses you to navigate a special child through life, it can be overwhelming.
It can be heavy, and all encompassing, and oh so overwhelming. Being given the news that your “normal” will be unconventional and unique, leaves you feeling all sorts of unprepared.
But, if given the task, I assure you, you would rise to the occasion.
As the parents of special needs kids, we aren’t superheroes. We aren’t inherently born with the know how or the ability.
Half of the time, we don’t really know how we do it either.
But we do it. And I promise, you would too.
It’s wild what your instincts can allow you to accomplish. You would learn, and you would research, and you would advocate, and you would ask all the right questions. You would become the expert.
Maybe not right away. Ok, definitely not right away, but eventually.
It’s a constant learning curve with an ever changing curriculum. But the end goal is always the same, keep your child happy, and healthy, and here.
There will always be one constant that outweighs all of the fear, and anxiety, and feelings of being completely ill equipped for the job…
You love your kid.
Love gives you the ability to fumble your way through just about anything, even the really tough stuff.
You can do very hard things.
I will always take the compliments in stride and with a humble heart, but I hardly feel deserving. I am just doing what any of you would do.
These children, they have their own world, and just as we do with our “typical” children, we have to help them learn how to live in ours. Same concept, very different route. But, just as you do with those typical children, you would find a new route, forge a path, and help your special needs child to do the same.
There is no rule book for parenting, you learn as you go. You quite often fail, but you often succeed as well. It’s not all that different with parenting a special needs child.
I know from the outside our lives probably seem hard, and chaotic, and impossible. I’m sure when we go on family outings, we are the family the others talk about when we walk away.
I mean lets be real, I know we are. I see the double takes and the stares. (And believe me, I get it. I would look too.)
I’m sure those couples walk away and ask each other how in the world they would do it, how in the world it would work with their lifestyle. And that ultimately, they probably decide they couldn’t, and it wouldn’t, before continuing on with their day.
But my question is always, what in the world is the alternative? Is there another option?
And the answer is always, nope.
Parenting a special needs child, a medically complex child, is still just parenting.
It may require more vigilance, more patience, more research, and more time spent in hospitals… So much time spent in hospitals… But there is always the common denominator, you love your child. You would go to the ends of the earth for your child.
We are no different, except that a lot of us have almost witnessed the end of the earth for our kids, and it just makes us that much more in tune. Same as it would do for you.
The statement can sometimes even feel like a bigger responsibility then the job of parenting itself. Like it somehow puts us on this pedestal, and now we have to live up to all this hype.
I can’t speak for the entire special needs community, but I can tell you, I never take offense. Please don’t feel afraid of or apprehensive about talking to me about my child. We love our children, we love to talk about them, just as you do, and we love to educate. We know you aren’t sure what to say, we understand that you rack your brain and nothing sounds right.
And we know that from the outside it may seem like you could never do what we are doing. But I promise you, you could. You could parent a special needs child.
The Mediocre Mama of a Special Child