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May 12 2013

Today, I’m Thankful for the Other Mothers in My Life

By at 7:49 pm

daughter and friend

In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a touching piece about how other mothers can help relieve your constant parental worrying.

As the mother of a special needs child, more often than not it’s all about the worry. Actually, parenting in general, but parenting a special needs kid in particular, is a life sentence of worry with a side of second guessing yourself.

As if that wasn’t enough, you also get to frequently experience disappointment for your child.

Although I have never been the mother of a non-special needs child, I realize that many of these things are not exclusive to the world of special needs. All parents worry about their children.

The difference is that at some point, at least most of the time with a typical child, they will grow up and more than likely will learn one way or another how to be independent and take care of themselves. Chances are that they will have the opportunity to find a place where they belong and even if they struggle, they have the ability to understand what is happening and find another situation or change.

For parents of special needs kids, we know all too well that most of this remains a question mark for us and for our kids. Special needs kids triumph all the time, sure; many beat the odds (the odds are stupid anyhow), but their challenges are lifelong.

Will she be able to (insert verb of choice here)? Are we doing the right/best thing for her? Would doing something else be better? Should I be intervening more or less? Mainstream or special education? Am I focusing on the right things? Will she fit in? Will she find friendship, companionship, love? Will her peers look past her differences as who she is and find a way to love her or will they just label her? Will she be happy?

These questions go through my head–Every. Single. Day. Usually more than once.

I spend so much time worrying about my daughter that a lot of the time I don’t even realize I am doing it. It’s become such a natural part of my life, the worry, it’s like driving: you do it by rote, unconsciously using the gas pedal, the brake and steering, but not thinking about it. .

Sometimes though, life can surprise you.

Sometimes a friend can call you up and offer to take your autistic daughter and her 4-year-old son to the science museum for the day. A friend can shlep on the train for one and a half hours out of her way just to pick up your child and include her in the fun. She can spend her day running after these two kids as they run in 12 different directions. When you thank your friend and tell her how grateful you are, how much you appreciate her sacrifice for your child, she can smile at you and tell you that the whole thing was her pleasure and how much she enjoyed seeing your daughter enjoy herself and how much she got out of seeing the two kids have the time of their lives together and how lovely it was to see them discovering the way only a child can.

Sometimes a mom, when meeting up with her daughter and her friend at the end of the day, walks up to them and sees her daughter and her friend, hugging and laughing together.

No matter how grim things are, no matter how much adversity we experience for our children, no matter the challenges and struggles, we must never forget that there are people out there who not only will accept your child’s differences, but will love them in spite of their differences.

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