“I don’t know how you do it.”
How many of us have heard that line?
As a special needs mom, I hear this weekly and each time I answer the same way with a forced smile on the same words falling from my mouth: “You just do.”
But, can I secretly tell you something? Honestly, I don’t know how I do it.
When we received my son’s autism diagnosis that fateful day over three years ago, I didn’t know how we would do it. All the questions, the what ifs, the whys and the hows filled my head with doubt. How would we survive this as a family?
You just do.
If it was your child, you would be doing the same. Just like I did, you would spend countless hours upon hours researching, speaking to professionals, fighting for therapy and going out of your comfort zone and reaching out to other parents who have been through it before. You would find anything that would give your child a chance at the best life possible. You would be searching for something to give you a sliver of hope to make it through another day.
You do it out of love.
You are your child’s number one fan. The one who will always have his back, no matter what hurdles God throws at you. When you think you cannot go on any further, somewhere inside your exhausted mind, you dig out the strength to go on. You are the parent. Your child’s entire world. It’s not until you look deep into those tiny eyes of that human you created, that you begin to realize the impact you are having on the value of someone’s life. That’s how you do it.
You do it because you are their advocate.
No one else, just you.
You are their voice. Their only way into the outside world to help get them the resources needed to make their lives better. You are their saving grace. Only you. God entrusted this child’s journey to you. You cannot ask why. It is not in that moment, but in the years that pass that you learn the why and reasoning of how come you were given this test.
Day after day, night after night, you pray the same things over and over to God. You pray that tonight, your child sleeps through the night. You pray that he hits another milestone that seems so out of reach. You pray that your marriage continues to grow in strength and not fall apart. You pray for yourself, for the patience needed to guide you through another day. Just one more day and somehow you’ll make it through.
You do it because you place your trust and faith in God.
As a special needs mom, you learn to push the negativity from your life. You fill your mind with positive thoughts and focus on the good things. You don’t dwell on the past. You focus on the now. You celebrate the smallest of milestones that might take years to accomplish. You adapt your daily life to fit your child’s needs. You change your entire world, your house, your parenting style, your mentality. You learn to adapt.
You do it because this is your parenting journey.
You become the person God needed you to be to raise your special needs child. You develop into the advocate, the voice, the supporter, the communicator for your child to the outside world. You morph into a person who gathers joy from the smallest things. You no longer care about the comparisons. Each day you watch your child fight the battle constantly inside their body and mind. That is when you realize how strong your child truly is.
And you think to yourself . . .
If they can do it, you can, too. Because you just do.
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