Saturday, October 19, 2013

With Them, I am Truly Happy.

I read a blog post recently that rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was just the way I read it, since everyone else seemed to love it. It made me angry, though. And sad. Sad for the child on the other end of the blog.

If there's one thing I want people to know, it's that they should never, ever feel bad for me. My children are not a constant source of pain. Their mere existence doesn't make life hard. I don't want to switch lives with someone else, just to escape raising children with special needs. Being around them doesn't drain me of energy, making it hard to breathe.

Life is hard for everyone. Not just those whose children have special needs. Everyone. What we all search for are the good things in life that bring us joy. That fill our hearts. That make us look forward to waking up everyday. For me, I get all those things from my kids.

When I look at my kids, I don't see their list of diagnosis. I don't them as people making my life hard. I don't blame them for any anxiety or pain I ever feel. I see them as pure joy. As unconditional love. As the reason I get out of bed every morning. Sure, life isn't perfect, and we have hard days just like anyone else, but I never feel the need to escape them. They aren't parasites sucking away my happiness. They are my happiness.


People always say that parents of children with special needs need to take time away. Recharge their batteries. Step away from their kids, so that they can come back refreshed, and ready to handle anything thrown their way. Well, I refuse to believe that is the answer. Spending time with my kids, that is what recharges my batteries. That's what gives me the energy to fight for them, and make sure their lives are as full as possible.

Sure, I go out with friends, and a date night here and there is always nice, but I don't do those things to get away. I do them to reconnect with the people in my life, because those relationships are important. Not as a way to escape my life. Definitely not as a way to escape my kids.

I think we need to be careful with our words, because sometimes we come off as blaming our kids for all our troubles. Sometimes the only message we convey is that everything is hard, or that our children have beaten us down. That makes people thank their lucky stars they don't walk in our shoes, and that's not the message I want to send. Not to the general public, and especially not to my kids. I'm sure I sound ridiculously self-righteous, but I'm OK with that.

Maybe some do blame their children, and I'm sure there are parents who would trade places with someone else. But that's not me, and I wanted to make sure everyone knows that.

They give me strength, and I would follow them anywhere. 

1 comment:

  1. You are a great mom who makes the best choices for her kids and family. I admire your strength (ok, that's cheesy), but I also admire you getting out everywhere with them. Those kids are not missing accessing the things so many kids and families do. I don't blame my kids for anything, heck I blame myself for everything, but we have something in common. We don't dwell on their diagnoses. We don't feel the need to blame something and rant at people who disagree with us. We don't go all "I want to teach my kid to say "I am autistic and proud of it" (although power to those kids who learn that and get it). We love them for who they are. We don't blame them. We don't try to get sympathy for it or affirmation for every parenting decision we make. We're real. And our kids with special and exceptional needs are happier for it. They don't see the stigma because we celebrate the good and while we might vent about the challenges, we look at our kids as abled and competent- and capable of extraordinary things. I love nights out because of my family- I have 4 kids, and I'm doing it alone. I don't apologize for enjoying any "time off" (although it's rare). I love Andrew for who he is and get so much job from seeing him happy and succeed. I love my oldest to pieces and am proud. If anyone is to blame for their special needs, I think genetically it's me. But, God they bring joy because they work so hard and they have big hearts and amazing spirits. Anyways, I love your blog post.