My friend had no idea how deep the impact was that he was making on my life. He was just being…him. Loving, kind and understanding. His eyes never left mine, even when I looked away out of defeat or embarrassment. He was quiet as I spoke. Occasionally he would nod, a gesture that reassured me as I poured my heart out in complete vulnerability.
And then, he spoke. At just the right time, I might add. The words he said were like a shot of adrenaline to my weakened body. “I know how tough it is to raise a child like ours bro. This is hard. I understand. I am here!” There was no way he could have known how much I needed to hear those words, nor how life-giving they really were.
“I am here.” Just repeating them to myself causes my heart to stir, and it’s been 4 years since that conversation.
I never thought I would be the parent of a child with special needs. If you went back in time and had a conversation with college me I would have told you my detailed plan to get married and create perfect little mini-mes of my wife and myself. I’ve learned that God has sense of humor. More than that, God divinely interrupts our best-laid plans. I think He does this to remind us who is really calling the shots in life.
Nothing More Healing, Nothing More Powerful.
Parenting children with special needs is combination of rewarding and defeating. Sometimes these two emotions collide in the same day like a warm and cold front colliding in the atmosphere. Only this happens in the material world and there’s flesh, blood, heart and soul all mixed into it. It’s like boarding a roller coaster that never seems to make it back to the loading area. Sometimes you just want to throw your hands up and cry “Uncle!”
How do you find hope when you’re stuck in the twists and turns of parenting a child with special needs?
In our journey, we’ve discovered that you could read books, attend conferences, seek out professional counseling, watch Dr. Phil (or not), listen to talk radio programs, read pamphlets, check out blogs, all in attempt to find healing in the midst of your deepest struggles on your darkest days. None of these pathways are bad. In fact, there are lots of great books and radio programs that can help. But there’s a disconnect. A separation from the talk-show host, or author from your real life, real pain, real exhaustion.
That’s why there is nothing more healing, nor powerful, than having someone look at you and honesty say, “I’m here. I know. You’re not alone. I understand!”
Simple, Yet True.
“I am here!” So simple. Yet so powerful and ever so true. To hear them is to hear freedom ring. It’s hope in it’s purest form. Honestly speaking, you may never escape this way of life. No, you won’t escape this way of life. You will always be specially involved in your son or daughter’s life. They will need you in ways “normal” children won’t need their parents well into their adult years. You will be involved in making life decisions with your child that most grown children’s parents aren’t involved in. It feels like a life-sentence. It feels lonely, as if you’re stuck on a deserted island for the rest of your life.
Fact is, though, you’re not alone. If nothing else, may this post be a voice that declares that for you and for any parent across the globe who longs to find hope on the road of special needs parenting. From this blog’s very beginning 3 years ago, we made it clear, that this is not a “how-to” for parents. It’s an “I know!” We’ve been there. We know the defeating feeling of crawling through the muck and mire of the parenting trench, and feeling utterly alone doing so.
A friend recently sent me the picture I used in this post. It’s from Mommies Of Miracles. Such a powerful reminder of the truth that is right before us on this unique journey…
I am here.
Have you ever been comforted by finding out you’re not alone? Share your story with us.
Join us tomorrow at 1pm EDT for our very first Periscope broadcast. We’ll be taking you inside our home (aka- Berrynation) and showing you how we Live Small with a Big Family. You can download Periscope for free here (Follow us @ConfessParent). We’ll be sending the link to join us live over Twitter and Facebook. We can’t wait to hang out with you!