What a parent does

Micah Pederson by Micah Pederson Additional Needs

Micah Pederson

Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a...

Dear One,

So many days I cringe at the words I know you hear spoken to me in an attempt to pat me on the back or applaud the life we live.

“You foster and adopt kids with special needs? What a hero you are!”

“Do you ever sleep?”

“You are superwoman for caring for these children!”

I cannot imagine how it feels to constantly have the privilege of loving and caring for you compared to the work of a superhero.

I know you hear these comments, but I pray you hear my replies even louder:

“I am not a superhero at all. Just a mom.”

“I would choose this life over and over again.”

“I’m not really sure what you mean. I am honored to be a mom.”

“I am not special. I am simply doing what a parent does.”

My precious child, do you know why I do what I do?

I do it because I love you.

I do not do the work of a wizard or a hero or a saint.

I simply do what a parent does.

I do not advocate for greater inclusion for you, my child, because I believe your teacher needs more on her plate or because I get some kind of thrill by stirring the pot.

I advocate because you deserve to be seen, respected, and included.

I advocate because that it what a parent does.

I do not wake before, during, and after the midnight hour to give medications, reposition, and comfort you because I am immune to exhaustion. I don’t push through weary days with a smile on my face and joy in my heart because I thrive off of sleep deprivation.

I find joy in the tired days because being with you is delightful no matter how l feel.

I sleep a little less because you need me to.

I place your needs above my own because that is what a parent does.

I do not take the time to meet the stares of others with the sharing of your name and strengths because I have no urge to punch ignorance in the face sometimes. I don’t choose to speak up against discrimination, inaccessibility, and unkindness because I enjoy confrontation and heated conversations.

I speak on your behalf because I know you, adore you, and respect you, and others should too.

I voice my opinions because they teach others to see you for who are.

I educate because that is what a parent does.

Sweet child, I don’t hold up an entire doctor’s office while you use eye gaze communication to choose between twelve colors of casts because I think making others wait is a fun hobby. I don’t make extra space in my day to allow for you to have all the time you need to use your unique voice because I don’t ever feel rushed or short on time.

I choose to give your voice a platform because your thoughts matter, even though they take more time to be heard.

I choose to let you choose and speak, even when it would be easier to do so for you, because you are a human with a voice worth hearing.

I hear you and make others listen in because that is what a parent does.

I don’t hoist you and your equipment into the van multiple times a week, bustling to appointments and therapies because I have superwoman muscles or favor the interior of doctor’s offices.

I push you to grow stronger, healthier, and greater because you have great potential that deserves to be acknowledged and encouraged.

I seek the best doctors and therapies for you because I want you to feel and be your best.

I seek the best for you because that is what a parent does.

Do I make sacrifices for you? Yes. Do I get tired sometimes? Yes. Do I wish it were easier some days? Yes.

Do I ever doubt that you are worth it? No. Do I ever regret it? Not for an instant.

My sacrifice has nothing to do with the diagnoses you have been given or the challenges you face. Instead, it has everything to do with your worth …your humanity ...and the incredible privilege it is to be your parent. It has everything to do with who you are and how greatly I love you.

Oh how I love you.

I love you because that is what a parent does.

Love, Your Parent

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