Special Needs Parenting: Allowing Yourself to Go There

Melissa Schlemmer by Melissa Schlemmer Additional Needs

Melissa Schlemmer

Melissa Schlemmer

Currently I am trying to juggle life with an infant, 7 year old, and a nearly 5 year old with special needs. Life is all kinds of crazy, but we are...

He seems to keep losing hearing in the high frequencies; high pitch bird chirping type of sound.

His audiologist informed us we may need to get him new hearing aids as his only amplify up to 85 decibels, which is the sound of a passing diesel truck or snowblower.

There are days when unexpected bad news can roll off my back and I accept it without issue, but there are also days where I allow myself to go “there.”

There are days when I don’t look at the silver lining and let myself feel sorry for him.

I feel sad for him, his big brother, our family; I get jealous, angry, and have a short pity party about how unfair life can be.

I really try not to do this too often because getting stuck in the negative and feeling sorry for yourself never gets you anywhere positive.

But, hey, I’m human!

On the drive home from the audiologist I starting thinking of the “what ifs” in his life.

What would life be like if he were healthy? What would life be like if he could run out to the car and hoist himself into his carseat?

What would life be like if I could hear his little feet run to the edge of my bed in the morning to greet me? What would life be like to hear his sweet little voice say “mom?”

As I thought more and more I realized just how silly my little game was. I had to stop.

This was really going to get me nowhere and quite possibly get me stuck, “there”, and it’s not a place I want to get stuck.

Playing the “what if” and comparison game will get you nowhere.

I looked back at him on our drive home and thought at least you’re happy.

And silly, stubborn, curious, determined, brave, strong, sweet, smart, loved….the list went on and on but most of all I thought at least you’re OURS.

I know it can be incredibly hard not to compare your child to the vibrant healthy one you see at the playground.

I know it can be difficult not to visualize all of the things your child “should” be doing or accomplishing.

My nephew is nearly the same age as my son with complex medical needs, so many days it’s staring me straight in the face.

Don’t get me wrong I still occasionally go to the place of grief and comparison, but I don’t get stuck there.

You can’t. Your child deserves you to be where they are.

Be present.

Be in the moment, not wishing the days away wondering about the, "What ifs.."

Go there if you have to, but be brief. And always come back.

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