Wednesday, December 12, 2012
On Being A Special Parent
Being the mom of 2 children, each with their own set of special needs, I often hear that God only gives those children to parents who are special. I have to admit that I often cringe when I hear this because I am no more special than the parent with a "typical" child. In fact, I often feel very ill-suited for the job of dealing with all my children's special needs. I do NOT feel special. I often feel drained, isolated, and just plain out-of-place around parents with "normal" children. One of my friends shared the following article that hit the nail on the head for me. I almost feel as if the author took the words right out of mouth. Please take the time to read and the next time you meet a parent with children who have special needs, remember what you learned from this article. Click on the link HERE.
Having 2 children with their own set of special needs has had positive affects on me. It has brought me out of my comfort zone. I had to in order to be an advocate for my children to get them the care that they truly deserve. It has also helped me to reach out to other parents who are also struggling with their childrens' needs. I have become more passionate toward those who deal with disabilities. I had a heart for those people before I had my own children but I now have a greater appreciation for what they deal with.
When other people "pat me on my back" and tell me that I'm special because I have children with special needs, I know they mean well. However, what they don't realize is that having children with special needs is draining not only on a family's finances, but it is a strain on family relationships, too. Unfortunately, even though Jackie's disability is permanent, she does not qualify for any type of assistance because our income is just a little too high to qualify. I do hope that I can get some sore of assistance to help pay for Jackie's hearing aids. In case you don't know, hearing aids cost thousands of dollars and our insurance does not have hearing aid coverage. So, it will be a huge out of pocket expense for us if we don't get financial assistance for them. With all of that being said, how does that make us more special than the "normal" parents who are able to preserve their savings for non-medical expenses? What makes us more special than the "normal" parents who have more time and money to put their own children in so many various after-school activities?
I am so thankful for my membership at the gym because it gives me the time to myself that I need after driving my children to their various therapy appointments (and whatever other specialty appointment) throughout the week. I don't get out with friends often so the gym is my social outlet for the time being.
Despite the difficulties involved with raising my children during their young years, I would not trade them for anything. I love them with my whole being. I am thankful for their disabilities. My children are perfect to me. But reality is that it has been very difficult for so many reasons. How does that make me more special than you?
The next time you meet a parent with a child who has special needs, don't tell them how special they are. All we need is just a listening ear or an encouraging word. Or just a smile will do. Don't be afraid to ask questions. When others comment on my daughter's limp or the way she holds her arm, I have no problem explaining about my daughter's disability and how proud I am of her for accomplishing so many things. In the end, you will be the one who is encouraged and inspired.