This is one of those posts where I climb up on my soapbox and impart a few pearls of wisdom. I know, I hate unsolicited advice as much as the next person so think of this as more of a sharing of life lessons, I learned the hard way.
Since becoming a special needs parent over a decade ago, I’ve learned a great many things.
One of the things I learned is that I’m not done learning yet.
There’s also one thing that I learned the hard way and that’s something that I want to share with you. With any luck, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that I didn’t.
This life lesson is so incredibly basic that I think it gets overlooked way too often because no one really takes the time to stop and smell the roses anymore.
What I want to speak about briefly is taking things for granted.
When you take something for granted, you sorta forget just how much that something means you. It’s assumed that whatever you’re taking for granted will always be there. Sadly, that proves not to be the case for some many people out there.
Parenting three boys on the Autism Spectrum and having one of them very medically fragile has taught me never to take anything for granted. The truth is, I haven’t the foggiest idea what tomorrow has in store for me or for them.
Over the years I’ve had the bottom drop out on our lives so many times, that I know just how bad it can get.
I’ve been interviewed a few times and almost every time I do an interview, the person asking the questions, asks me if I have one piece of advice for all the parents put there that are either listening or reading. While I typically don’t like to actually give advice, I make an exception for this.
I tell them, rather, I beg them. Go home and hug your kids. Spend as much time with them as possible because you never know what tomorrow brings. Be grateful if your kids are healthy because so many parents out there have kids that are in a bad way, medically speaking. Tuck them in every night and never, ever put off for tomorrow what should be said or done today.
My message is to never take anything about your kids for granted.
I hear parents complain all the time about things that I wish I had the opportunity to do with my kids. You have to remember that everything is about perspective and when you lose perspective, you lose sight of what’s truly important in life.
Ask anyone that’s suffered the loss of a child and see what they will tell you about what’s truly important in life.
I made the mistake of putting things off for another day with Gavin when he was little. Next thing I know, we lost him to regression and the child I knew and loved no longer existed. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could go back to that day at the park and just let him play a little while longer.
I assumed that I would have another chance to let him play. The reality was that we were about to face an unforseen tragedy that would literally strip the personality of our son away. We were left with a shell, and essentially a child that we had to get to know, all while mourning the loss of the child we had known and loved for years.
This is why I feel it’s so important that I share this with anyone that will listen…
I’ll go-ahead and climb down off my soapbox now but please, please learn from my mistakes.
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Thank you for sharing. Those are good words of advice that can never be given too much. I think sometimes we get so caught up in everything–appointments, meetings, evaluations, dealing with tantrums and meltdowns, trying to get things done, etc–that we sometimes lose sight of the smaller, but nevertheless, important things in life.