Imagine I was in a room full of other special needs parents. There are the persistent ones that send shivers through the spines of the PTA. There are the misinformed, the ones that are trying to balance too much and miss steps along the way. There are the ones that ask too many questions and the ones that are too shy to ask. There are the reluctant, the ones that act like there is nothing wrong with their child. There are the people who would wrap their child in bubble wrap and never leave the house again if they could.
And then there is me in the midst of the entire emotional spectrum, trying to work it all out in my head so I still remember to take something out of the freezer to defrost or take time to write. I have still not figured out quite where I fall and I catch myself experiencing all of the above deeply and randomly. Combined or one at a time. Am I persistent enough? Am I wrong for making certain choices? Do I know what I am doing enough or am I misinformed about a piece of this gigantic puzzle? How will everything I am doing affect whether or not she will need therapy as an adult?
This is already an extremely difficult job, however. I had a moment today to dwell on that. On parents as one broad community. The forest over the trees.
Today I sat in our community school for kindergarten orientation and I looked over the sea of all types of parents, not even able to tell if anyone else had a similar home life to me. And I said to myself that everyone in this room, whether they are the persistent ones, the misinformed, the shy and reluctant, the over- and the under-protective, everyone is terrified. We are placing pieces of ourselves into the hands of strangers. We all have no clue if what we do personally each day is the right way to raise them and put them out into those hands. So we are all actually quite the same. We just cope with the tremendous nature of what is before us in different ways. Sometimes these ways are positive, sometimes negative, a lot of times just enough (which is sometimes all that we can do with the time and strength we have when we wake up every morning).
So maybe it doesn’t really matter which kind of parent I am as I tackle every task. Things are varied; I never know what a day is going to bring, no matter how much routine I pour my blood, sweat, and tears into. I aim to go forward always keeping in mind that these parents, special needs or not, are still the same as me.
Our hearts are walking around outside our bodies, as it was once put. Only if they keep beating, with noble purpose, can we affect not only our own world but the worlds that will be shaped decade after decade to come.