Last week, I sat in a meeting with a parent and an organization that would require an extensive background of my special needs student to support her as an adult. After two hours in this meeting, I was overwhelmed with the love that this parent had for her child and for her children, that I felt the dire need to tell her after the meeting, how wonderful of a mother she truly is. Immediately tears welled up in her eyes, because it wasn’t a compliment that she had heard very often. “Why do you say that?” she asked me. As I listed the reasons, respect and compassion filled my mind, not just for her, but for every single parent out there, motivating me to write the following post…
Dearest Parents and/or Guardians,
Thank you for all that you do. As I start to list the countless roles that you play in a child’s life, it is simply overwhelming. You love them, and provide for them. You teach them, counsel them and discipline them. You have those tough conversations that no one else is willing to have, and when you get that phone call from school, it generally isn’t going to be a positive one. Thank you for wanting the best for your child, and believing that your child is capable of anything. You are their biggest advocate, and if your child is anything like me, I simply stand in awe of your strength and determination as you parent daily.
Every day, I come home from work, and I take a break. I have time with Christ and with myself.. and with youtube. I can. But YOU! You are the one who is late for work, not because you have slept in, but because you have prepared breakfast, dressed your child, driven him/her across the city to drop them off at school, or has taken the day off work because your children are sick. You leave work only to go to the next job, with the only time that you have to yourself during the drive over to the school to pick up your children. You rush home to prepare a meal, do the grocery shopping and somehow find time for them to pursue their extra-curriculars outside of school. You are up at night, worrying about your child when they have not yet come home, and you worry about their worries more than they do. I simply cannot imagine doing what you do. I cringe at having to pass one day in your shoes, I know its something that you do not think about, simply something that you “do”. But thank you, for “Doing” it.
To the parents specifically with disabilities, sometimes multiple. Never have I met people with such determination, strength and will power. In my time working with disabilities, I showered your child in the bath bed, held his head still while brushing his teeth, changed attends daily, and wiped up vomit from the pillow, rolled your child during night duty and helped them to the washroom, I pushed them up the big hill, and watched them struggle to communicate an idea to others, cut up food into bite size pieces, and help them pierce it with a fork. I witnessed her rip up multiple clothes, fed him through a g-tube, and helped empty her catheter. BUT, I also smiled with joy as they went home with you after simply days in our care. This is what you do every single day, relentlessly and lovingly. I do not have to worry about what happens to them when they get older, or when you get older and are no longer to take care of them. There is less support for you, and the burden is present and constant. But you celebrate the little successes and the joys. The thrill that they are able to communicate simply by using their eyes, or that they can feed themselves with a fork. You are truly some of the most resilient people out there, filled with unconditional love and support. This but scratches the surface of the trial, and my respect for you simply grows as I meet those who fight for, advocate, and build up their child.
And specifically to my parents, Thank you for putting up with my attitude, pride, stubbornness, sass and strong head. I am not an easy person to deal with, especially when I am being myself. I hid my homework under the couch, and lied when I told you that I practiced piano. I am angry when you stay up to wait for me to come home, and I am also angry when you don’t call when I am out late. You have and are providing for me, and you love me when I am the hardest to love. I am eternally grateful.
Parents, there would be no families without you. Thank you for what you do.
Happy Family Day everyone!