The Pain of Parenting a Child With Special Needs

The Pain of Parenting a Child With Special Needs

Children are a blessing in all forms. They provide us with unconditional love. Not every child has the same physical or intellectual abilities. It is bittersweet to have a child that has special needs. You wouldn’t trade your child for anything in this world. When you look at them all you see is your sweet baby and everything they’ve accomplished. Then you look away into the rest of the world and you see everything they are up against and it is painful.

I often wonder how my oldest is going to fit into society when she thinks so differently from the rest of the world. She is such a beautiful child with a brilliant mind. She struggles socially, because she doesn’t understand why everyone else doesn’t think logically like herself or isn’t sensitive to others feelings. She knows she’s “different”, but we’ve taught her to accept her autism as a positive trait instead of a disability. It gives her the ability to be empathetic to others. It’s given her amazing artistic abilities. It’s taught her to keep trying and to think outside of the box to solve problems. It gives her the confidence to bleach her hair with blue tips, get a pixie cut, and shave her name into the back of her head. Why did she do this? She wanted to make sure that jealous people got her name right when they were talking behind her back about how fabulous she is as herself. She’s fourteen now and almost six feet tall. She could be awkward and shy about her height. She’d rather slam dunk a basketball and scream in your face take that at any boy who teases her. Why do we allow her to do these crazy things with her hair when it changes monthly? Why the heck not? It’s hair and it will continue to grow along with her self confidence. I hope this self confidence is enough to keep her on her feet when the world wants to push her down. She’s been discriminated against for being mixed, called retarded, and physically assaulted at school. She learned to fight back and now she’s not afraid to swing first at any bully, even if it’s someone else being teased. Will she get married and have a family? Will she be able to hold a job? She can understand computer servers, but doesn’t understand money. If she’s not given change back from a pack of gum that she bought with a $20 she doesn’t question it. Will she be taken advantage of because she’s innocent?

Will my younger child have a normal high school experience because she has a throat stoma? Will she be an outcast and ask why she isn’t pretty enough to make the boys like her? Will she be passed over for so many opportunities simply because she can not speak? She is a sweetheart and always wants to he kind and helpful. Kids are skittish on the playground. She’s only five and has chosen to wear scarves to cover her stoma because she’s figured out that she’s different and she calls it ugly. That breaks my heart to see such a beautiful child use such a horrible word when she describes herself.

Every parent has fears for their children and they are all different. I worry more about the hatred in the rest of the world than I do about any lack of abilities in my children. All I want is for my children to be given a fair chance at life and I already know that won’t happen. I can wrap up their differences and make them into strengths for them personally, but I can’t do anything about what’s waiting for them out there. It’s hard to know what that is when I see their innocent smiles. It’s hard to smile back and tell them how great their lives are going to be someday. There is plenty of time for the real world, but for now it’s rainbows, sunshine, glitter, and bittersweet smiles from mom.

Photo © Flickr CC

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