After reading the blogs of several mothers of special needs children I felt compelled to express my feelings about being the parent of a special needs child. The most difficult part of being a special needs parent is not my personal losses or sacrifices. The things that I do are no different than the things other parents do. Parents make sacrifices for their children everyday. Some parents sit on cold, hard bleachers watching their child play football. Some sit in the hot sun all summer long at countless baseball games. Countless mothers leave the mall with bags full of things that do not belong to them. Adult feet stop growing. . . children’s feet don’t. I am sure that those parents don’t look at what they do as sacrificial acts. They do those things because they love their children and get enjoyment in providing their child the opportunity to do the things they enjoy.
Parents of special needs children take their children to therapy not because they have to but because they want to give thier child what he or she needs. We build contraptions to make life easier or adapt something that doesn’t suit the needs of our family. We create elaborate Halloween Costumes for wheelchairs because we want our child to feel special and experience fun things.
Now I am not saying that being the parent of a special needs child is not challenging, but isn’t being the parent of a “normal” typically developing child difficult at times? We simply face different challenges.
I must admit that there are times when I encounter the exasperated parent chasing their child through the doctor’s office and have a tinge of jealousy. It is heartbreaking when they turn to their child and say, “why can’t you sit nicely like that little boy?” Oh, if you only knew. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t experience regrets for the losses I face. I grieve over the struggles my child must face for the rest of his life. However, these experiences are outnumbered greatly by the many joys of parenting a special needs child. Most of the time I am overcome by the blessing God granted me when he chose me to be G’s mother. I find myself asking, “Why me, Lord? What did I do to deserve such a wonderful child? How could You trust me with such an awsome responsibility?”
Through this entire journey I have experienced a peace that passes all understanding. Yes, I have shed more than my share of tears when I am faced with yet another difficult decision that I feel unequiped to make. I have had to exchange my hopes and dreams for different ones. I have met many wonderful people and have been blessed to meet many special children.
My son is loved by many people and I take great comfort in knowing that. God has taken what the world sees as bad and has used it for good just as He promised in His Word. He graciously presently me with a gift I didn’t know I wanted and changed me forever. I know that parents are supposed to teach their children, but G teaches me much more than I could ever teach him. That is what being a special needs parent means to me.