Amy’s Parenting Blog
Amy launched a special needs parenting blog for Today’s Parent Magazine (May 2009). Here's a taste. For more, check out Today’s Parent.com.
A Parallel Planet
Maybe I watch too much sci fi like BattleStar Galactica and Dr Who, but I think of special needs parenting as a parallel universe. In our world we do the usual parenting stuff, but daily life is in hyperdrive—more painful, more joyful, and more complicated. And even though my daughter is 16, I still have moments that leave me weeping in my car—a stage I thought I left years ago.
Like the other day at our Farmer’s Market. As I stood at an outdoor stall picking out veggies, my daughter Talia browsed nearby. Then a woman tapped me on the shoulder—hard. “You really should learn to control your child!” I panic. “Oh my goodness, what did she do?”
“She’s walking up to people saying, ‘teenager coming through.’ That’s so rude.” She glares at me.
My face is hot. Honestly, she deserves no explanation. But I try. “Have you heard of autism? That's what she has. And she's just being friendly and doing the best she can.” Nasty woman stomps away.
I smile at Talia and hope she doesn't see me swiping tears. On the drive home, I full out weep. I know it’s just a stupid comment from an ignorant woman, but it’s hit me deep and unearthed those unspeakable thoughts: How can I always be there to protect my kid? Who's going to really “get her” like we do? Who's going to love her always?
Fortunately, my teen doesn’t let me languish long in my pity party. She clears her plate after lunch and says, “Thanks, Mom. That was delicious. Two thumbs up for Mom.” This from the kid who used to say little but echoed phrases from Barney, who screamed when we shut off the darn tv, or when we went to the park, or to a restaurant or…….
When your kid has special needs, any bit of progress is an incredible high. And it makes up for the excruciating tough stuff. As they say in the intro to one of my daughter’s favourite shows, Jon and Kate Plus Eight, “It may be a crazy life—but it’s OUR life.”