We all long to be appreciated for the things we do. Kind words to our souls are like a steady rain on flowers. They perk up. They look healthy. They’ve been given life! As a full time care-giver of an adult son with special needs (age 36) it means so much to me when my husband thanks me for some of the things I do for our son:

  • Shaving him 
  • Helping him in and out of the shower – prompting all the way~
  • Making his lunch
  • Guiding him through getting dressed (button him up, etc.)
  • Checking that he looks nice (shirt tucked in, etc.)

Yep, those words of thanks and appreciate perk me up and give me life…and that’s important when I start to feel drained, worn out, and lifeless as the routine clouds out the sunshine of life. 

Those of us who live this reality day after day, 24/7 might consider how we take care of and appreciate those who help us care for the one in our lives with special needs. Perhaps it’s the bus driver transporting our treasures to and from school, the Sunday School teacher who’s not trained in special needs, but loves our children so much they step out in faith to care for them, or the person who offers to care for our child so we can enjoy a date night. Each of them are a breath of fresh air for us. I made sure I took time to say:

  • You rock!
  • I couldn’t do this without you!
  • I appreciate you so much!
  • You mean the world to us!

I tried to take time to put on my thinking cap (sometimes creativity lacked; other times it flowed) to find ways to show appreciation. Over time here are a few things that trickled from my heart and head to bless others:

Candy bar-grams: 

  • MILLION DOLLAR candy bar with a note saying why “you’re worth a million”! (If you go on line, you can get them personalized!)
  • BAR NONE – with a note sharing why they mean so much to you! (BAR NONE: You’re the best!)
  • MARATHON – “You’re such a big help in this MARATHON of life. THANK YOU!”
  • M-Azing – You are amazing in so many ways (list the ways)!
  • CRUNCH – “Thanks for helping us in that CRUNCH!” (explain)
  • Reese’s FAST BREAK – “We SO NEEDED that break! THANK YOU for helping!”
  • POWER HOUSE – “You are the POWER HOUSE keeping us going. THANK YOU!”
  • ROCKY ROAD – “The ROCKY ROAD of life is made easier with people like you.”
  • SNICKERS – “Thank you for sharing how (my child) made you laugh. That was a bright spot for me to have you notice that!”
  • Send in a snack, breakfast, or meal that helps lighten their daily load as they help you lighten yours!
  • Valentine’s Day: A heart-shaped note sharing how they “touched your heart”!
  • Christmas: Be generous with a gift card or some gift you know they’ll appreciate. I often gave them an ornament that was meaningful (Joey’s Jr. High teacher had received and ambulance for the emergency she got him through. She loved it. His work supervisor got an “Oreo” ornament after Joey had eaten a full box of them instead of sharing them for his birthday treat. We still laugh over that one.) Be creative and thoughtful. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • Their birthday. Just to remember it is special….and to make them feel special is the frosting on the cake!

The list can be as long (or short) as your imagination! As parents we can appreciate those serving us and our families. Church staff can find ways to bless those who serve. Looking for ways sometimes takes time. If you are lacking in this area, ask others for help who do it well.

We can’t appreciate another too much. Let’s take care of the care-takers!