Dear dad to the child with special needs,
Many of us grew up playing with our buddies, pretending we were Superman, Batman or Spiderman… arguing about who would be which one and even philosophizing about who could beat who if they fought each other but in the end it didn’t matter because we knew we would each save the day. When asked what we would be when we grew up, the answer was often a fireman, a policeman, or a soldier. We would catch the bad guy. We would put out the fire. We would save the day and we would come to the rescue. There would be parades, ticker tape and we may even get the key to the city.
For most of us, we ended up going different paths but we still have that deep desire to be our family’s hero, to come to their rescue. The majority of us would lay down our lives for our family if we had to but now we find ourselves in a situation that we can’t “fix.”
Instead of being the super hero that saves the day, you find yourself barely making it through the day. There is no praise. There is no applause, no parade and no ticker tape. Some days you feel lucky to just have the key to your home…let alone the city. You have such a strong sense of needing to provide for your family and yet you don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for the new specialist, the new medication, the specialized foods or therapist your child needs. You may have even tried to pick up extra shifts or extra jobs to pay for these needs but the budget has long gone out the window.
When you were first married, you and your spouse had visions and dreams of what life would be like. Dreams that you would do together but now you feel alone. The wife whom you used to pour your heart out to after work is coping, processing, looking for resources, and is all out focused on the needs of your child with special needs. It has been forever since, the two of you have had time just the two of you. You feel like you need to be the strong one and listen to her struggles during this time and are afraid to burden her with your struggles. The needs of your child may be so great that you feel like parenting the other children is on you.
I don’t know you, but let me tell you that you are my hero. Unlike Superman, who can fly away after a fight or Spiderman, who can sling away on his web. You are there for the long haul. You have defied the odds and stuck in there even with the additional stressors on your family. You may be an accountant working in the office every day or you may work on the line in a factory somewhere but in truth, you are a soldier fighting for your family.
Today I am celebrating you and I hold you up to the ultimate Father … praying that He meets you where you are at.
From One Dad to Another,
Jonathan McGuire leads Hope Anew, which is a safe community where you can be real with your struggles with other parents who really get it. Our goal is for you to experience Christ-centered hope & healing. You can connect with Hope Anew and begin your journey to Hope & Healing through our online & regional workshops where we will process the above topics as well as others, and interact with other parents through our Facebook page.