On the outside, parents of children with disabilities may appear strong and unscathed by the daily stresses of life. But that’s often only because we’ve been through hell and crawled our way out, and we’ve learned how to put on a happy face and keep on going.
We’ve been hit with a diagnosis that society deems as “different,” “weird” or “not typical.” We’ve grieved for the struggles our child faces, and worried about what the future holds for our child.
We’ve handed our helpless children over to surgeons praying they can save their lives.
We’ve entrusted countless doctors to find treatments, provide guidance and heal what our children can’t even tell us is hurting.
We’ve watched our children work 10 times harder than most just do the things most people take for granted.
We’ve struggled through meltdowns because our children don’t have the words to tell us what they need. We’ve had to carry our children out of stores, restaurants and playgrounds kicking and screaming while others stood by watching and judging.
We’ve searched high and low and paid out our asses for the best therapies money can buy so our kiddos can become their best selves.
We’ve spent hours and hours making picture schedules, adaptive toys and games, and modifying our children’s homework to fit their individual needs.
We’ve spent countless hours researching everything there is to know about our child’s diagnosis, from how they learn best, what foods they should be eating, what supplements they should be taking and what school environment will best fit their needs.
We’ve had to rearrange our schedules and lives to fit in countless doctor appointments, therapies, IEP meetings, and more.
We’ve advocated for acceptance, inclusion and overall kindness.
We’ve watched our children be left out, mocked, stared at, talked down to and underestimated.
We’ve watched as the world asks our children to change to fit into their mold without them even considering maybe their mold is not one size fits all.
We’ve had to fight for equal rights, education, inclusion in extra curricular activities and in the school systems.
We have cried in the shower, in our cars and in bed at night until there were no more tears to cry.
And you know what, I wouldn’t change my daughter for the world!
Because we’ve also experienced more joy than most.
We’ve celebrated successful surgeries and overcoming obstacles that once seemed impossible.
We’ve helped to break down barriers.
We’ve learned patience and kindness.
We’ve watched our other children learn exceptional patience and kindness.
We’ve become stronger and bolder.
We’ve witnessed miracles.
We’ve watched our children have an everlasting and amazing impact on other people’s lives.
But if you happen to catch a glimpse of a tear stained momma, give her a hug, lots of grace, and know that even though she wouldn’t change her child for the world, it can be emotionally exhausting trying to change the world for her child.