“I’ll Take Care of Her When You Get Too Old” - Raising Children with Disabilties

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

This worry can consume you, if you allow it.


What if something were to happen to me and my husband?

Who would be there to take over our crazy day-to-day activities and provide all the unconditional love our children deserve?

Who would we entrust to be there to fill our shoes?

Honestly, NO ONE. For us, it’s too scary talk about, or even think about.

We can’t imagine leaving them behind without us here to care for them.


Growing old and being unable to care for our children is another valid burden that we carry.

My eleven year old is highly intelligent and has a gentle, tender heart.

He is also on the Autism Spectrum.

While, I envision him going far in life, and can see him as a brilliant Scientist someday, a small part of me also harbors worry for him. They have a bond that is quite amazing and she adores him equally.

He loves his little sister dearly.


She has intellectual and physical disabilities that impact every aspect of her life.

At four years old, walking and talking are goals that we work fervently toward.

But, the fact remains that she will need someone to care for her, always.

As her parents, we want to be the ones to be here for both of them and to provide the very best care for them, FOREVER. His statement melted me into a puddle.

While playing with his sister one afternoon, my son looked at me and said something to me that stopped me in my tracks.


He said, “Mom, I’ll take care of her when you get too old.”

I was caught off guard and wondered how this little guy could see into his Mom’s soul, and know the worries that I keep quiet from everyone else.

I told him that we would never want to place burden on him and that he was way too young to worry about that now.

He went back to playing with her and said nonchalantly, “Ryleigh, you can live with me when I grow up.” I saw a glimpse into my son’s heart that day.

As a mom, you want your kids to play well together and to get along.


It made me understand the true breadth of his love for her.

Although I try to push these future thoughts way back in my mind for now, I feel secure that he would never leave her behind.

I am assured that no matter what his future holds, he will see to it that she is taken care of. Try not to let the worries about tomorrow take away your joy today.

One piece of advice I have for other parents of special needs children that bear these same woes: live life day by day, and just live in the moment.


There are beautiful moments before you; don’t let future worry steal them away from you.


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