I once heard of a woman, who after years of taking care of her disabled sister, made the following confession: “I hate having to cut her toenails. ”
You could have heard a pin drop in the room after that simple sentence had been uttered.
Because caring for an individual with special needs should be sacred, right?
You should always consider the opportunity to care for an individual with special needs as a holy calling never to be complained about.
If the parent of a typical kid were to admit that kid was driving them up a wall, we’d all shake our heads in sage commiseration.
Think about it for a minute. How would you react if you had to cut your siblings toenails every week for years on end. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be listing that on your most exciting moments list, would ya. I love Reed with all my heart. But he still cuts his own toenails.
But often when a parent of a child with special needs vents about say the fifth ostomy bag explosion of the day….well the world often tends to look askew at that mother and deem her halo to be tarnished.
Cause we Mom of kids with special needs are supposed to be saints, don’tchaknow.
News flash. Nobody ever looks at that freshly peed on stick and thinks, “Oh, I hope this one is born with special needs.”
Instead you pray that they are born healthy and strong.
But if the life path of your baby differs from your hopes and dreams, you work through it, and you love that kid like all your others. You create a new normal. You discover strengths you never imagined you had. And you forge ahead.
So, instead of being shocked at a mother who expresses exhaustion over the seemingly never ending therapies her kid is involved in, her financial worries, or her fears for the future, how about doing for her what you would do for your exhausted friends who don’t have special needs kids:
- Tell her not to worry, you’ve got dinner for her family covered tonight.
- Drop off a Starbucks if she can’t get out of the house. Seriously, a hand delivered Diet Coke has saved many a day around these joints.
- Offer to take her other kids for a few hours.
- Tell her how much you love her and how you value her friendship.
When you see her packing and unpacking that 50 pound stroller, 20 pound backpack, and 100 pound kid for the 10th time that day, come over and offer your muscles.
Parents of kids with special needs are no saints. But you could be one simply by offering up a listening and nonjudgmental ear.
PS: Me? I dread the three times a day nebs and shaker vest treatments. Fortunately that beautiful face makes it much, much easier.