If you are a parent of a child with special needs I think I just heard you scream!
I wish I were such a very special person that I came equipped with just the right….
- Sense of Humor
- Did I mention attitude?
- Loving heart
- I think I might have mentioned attitude already
……..to care for our son with special needs.
I have a sense when people say that phrase, they think the ease we show in caring for our children just comes naturally or we were somehow gifted by God to do what we do. Neither is false but perhaps neither is true.
I never worked with children with special needs, and except for one friend who had a family member that I would occasionally get to visit and classes in our junior high school, I really had no one in my life (ever) that had special needs. So, I had no training and few occasions to be with someone who had special needs. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to...I simply never thought of it or really pursued it. Some think we (and other parents of children with special needs) are gifted by God to do the kind of caregiving we do. I’m almost certain that we’d agree that just isn’t so.
So, let’s set the record straight. We are not special and not gifted to care for ones with special needs, but perhaps we’d agree, that the bond of parenting (with a few exceptions) is so strong that it is the love we have for our children with special needs that keeps us going. We become “special people” only because we love dearly the one who has been entrusted to us. I suppose in that way I feel special that God thought I might do okay in this role! If that is what makes us special, then super.
I think all of us can rise to the occasion to care for, love, and be devoted to one that has special needs. We have been most appreciative of all the people who’ve worked with our son (aides, teachers, Sunday School teachers, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, therapists, and the list goes on and on!) The beauty for all of us is this: If you/we have a love for others, and particularly for helping to learn to care for one with special needs, then we can do it. It might take a little learning. It might take a little sacrifice of our time and willingness to come our of your/our comfort zone. It might even be a little challenging at times….but many who’ve given it a try have been blessed beyond measure. And not just us as parents.
I actually think those who don’t get to experience caring for someone with special needs are missing out on some very special moments, people, and opportunities.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to care for our son. I’m thankful for the school experiences he had, the work experiences he now enjoys, and the times he was/is ministered to through the church. I know that I’m not all that special, but I am definitely blessed. All of us can be if we just put our next step forward, volunteer, and see what it’s all about.
THAT’S how we all feel pretty special!