When I became a special needs parent (11 years years ago), I realized what most people consider an annoyance is really a blessing. I’m by no means trying to speak for everyone or belittle anyone. When I wrote this, my son Emmett was not able to talk and we weren’t sure he ever would. Having 3 boys on the spectrum is something that changed many things in my life. I find myself, sometimes longing for the little things that most people take for granted or consider a problem. This post is meant to help illustrate what I was feeling. Life is all about perspective and that’s something my journey have taught me.
10 Reasons Why You’re lucky…..But Don’t Know It
1. You’re lucky because you never have to use words like autism, spectrum, bipolar, sensory, anti-psychotic, overstimulated, manic or nonverbal in relation to your children and may not even know what they mean. I’m all too familiar with them and wish I wasn’t.
2. You’re lucky because your kids have friends, even if they could pick them better. Mine don’t have any and that breaks my heart.
3. You’re lucky because your kids curse and are disrespectful. Mine have never said a word and I would give anything to hear him say Daddy.
4. You’re lucky your kids wear clothes even though you can’t stand their tastes. Mine can’t stand the feel of clothes on their skin.
5. You’re lucky you have to take your kids to practice even if you have to drive all over town shuttling them around. I’ll likely never have that opportunity.
6. You’re lucky you can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables. I can’t get mine to stop eating things that aren’t food.
7. You’re lucky your kids have a boyfriend or girlfriend even if you think they are wrong for each other. Mine may never have that experience.
8. You’re lucky your kids break curfew or sneak out to a party. Mine won’t even be invited.
9. You’re lucky to go places on the holidays even if you’d rather stay home or can’t stand your family. We often don’t get to go because my kids can’t handle the holidays let alone the get together.
10. You’re lucky to have extended family and even friends. Many of ours have long since left because our life was too complicated.
-Lost and Tired
It could be seen as a blessing that you don't have to do most of these things. That's the biggest mistake parents of differently abled children make assuming that what others do is "the real world" or 'normal/right". There are many if not more blessings involved in raising differently abled children, they are not apparent to many, no big crowd pleasing spectacles, but they are there, small, quiet miracles that make a parent just as proud.
I\’m not sure if you took this right. I wasn\’t complaining but instead encouraging other not to take things for granted. It was all about perspective.
Wow – I can 100% relate to everyone of those comments except my son does talk. He likes to swear (it gets attention) and I am now going to look at that swearing in a different light thanks to your comment on talking. I am holding back tears because I am at work. Wow is all I can say.
Your blog broke my heart. My children do not have the diagnoses that your children do, but even the experience of having just "difficult" children can be isolating and frightening. You seem unbelievably courageous to me, as do many of those who post comments. I admire that courage and your generosity in communicating your pain so that others can benefit. Thank you.
I definitely like the conclusion and the idea that you have here and I was able to relate to what you are saying. Thank you so much for sharing this great blog of yours.
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Agreed. The spectrum is a lonely place – until you find the support of others in the same boat. Keep writing…you're creating something really big here.
Oh, so agreed. And mine is "you're lucky if your kids can still live with you" as we ponder the real possibility of residential care. Hopefully not, so we're still lucky, and hope to stay that way. I am sharing this list.
Oh how I relate to so many of your points. It is so easy to take these things for granted when you are not living it like we all are.
My recent post Extra Chaotic
I can relate. Today was a particularly difficult day. I just keep reminding myself how much I love my son. Yes, I wish things were different, but for now, all I can do is love him.
My recent post Frustration
While I could disagree with #1 (I count myself incredibly lucky to have heard a lot of those words–I got to stop feeling inhuman, stupid and completely alone when I did)…it's true, what most people take for granted completely amazes me sometimes.
The thing is, though, no one knows the future, including parents of typical kids. They only think they do, while you know you don't. And I'm not convinced that they wind up ultimately happier or more satisfied.
I wish I could just tell you it'll get easier, but I know I can't. Hang in there.
Sitting here in tears after reading this. Thank you. You put into words what I have been feeling. You blog is so important to me and you have given my husband and I courage to say what we are feeling and come out of hiding. Thank you.
My recent post Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
thank you . this article broke my heart coz it reminded me of my life before having my children . and I miss it so badly these days . today I did not stop playing"show me the meaning of being lonely" becoz it reminded me with my university life etc. I love my children too much . but some times I feel that being Palestinian (stateless) and have two children on the spectrum is more that what I can handle . my children don't have the right of education or healthcare in any country 🙁
My heart goes out to you. Your life is my life. Isolated from "the real world," his limitations have become ours. In many ways I've lost my own social skills, my own willingness to play the game over things that don't matter. I am also lost and tired, in ways that "normal" parents could not possibly comprehend — and thank God they don't have to. I'm lonely, tired, angry, resentful, sad, and fed up. But still I must forge on and forget myself in him. You write beautifully and your blog is important. Keep going.