Parenting a child is like being in an extremely challenging class at school. Parenting is tough. It takes a lot of work and dedication if you want to do it right. Even putting your whole heart and soul into it, you are not going to ace every test.
Parenting a child with special needs is like taking that same class with everyone else but doing all of the extra credit work and never receiving the credit. In certain seasons of your child's life you work at least twice as hard as the others around you, but they all see you as being in the same class together. This stings a little.
We aren't looking for your sympathy, we are looking for your friendship. Part of that friendship is realizing that our lives are not parallel. We envisioned our lives to be like yours. They aren't. We know your life holds challenges of it's own. And to be honest, some of us wish those were our biggest worries and are a little jealous of the normalcy.
It's conflicting to admit these things because I can also tell you that in my family our challenges have made us better people and blessed our lives immensely. If I could change the past, I wouldn't. I am a better person for traveling down this road. My faith in God is stronger than I ever dreamed it would be. How could I possibly regret the strength I have gained?
"... because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
One of the toughest parts for parenting a child with special needs has been that none of my friends seemed to get all of the extras that went into our day.
You know what I'm talking about, right?
When my friends took their kids for gymnastics class, they could sit back and enjoy an hour of break time. I considered gymnastics class a form of therapy for both movement and social skills. I had to watch closely to make sure my child was participating appropriately and occasionally had to run in there to catch him when he ran off. It added tension to my life to do "normal" activities.
And in addition to the normal activities that my other friends did, we ran to therapy appointments. We were both raising kids of the same gender, same age... but everything else seemed so different. My kiddo is high-functioning and doing well but that did not happen by accident. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears going on behind the scenes. If you are lucky, you will have friends who understand this.
Enjoy the video. Embrace the song.
Give yourself credit when it is due.
None of this happened by accident.