As a special needs parent, I have often wondered if I am doing enough for my child. It doesn't help when other people in my life seem to have great ideas on how to help my child, or they imply that they would do a better job, or that I'm not doing the best I can as a parent. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it feels like a punch to my gut that leaves me gasping for breath.
This parenting thing—it's hard!
There is so much judging and pointing of fingers. Facebook seems to be the grounds for parenting debates and taking sides. Add disability and it just becomes more challenging.
I know some of the comments we hear in regards to our parenting of children with disabilities are made with the best of intentions, and unfortunately a little bit of ignorance at times: "Have you tried this therapy? It worked for my co-worker's sister's friend's son who has cerebral palsy too." Or what about the family member who says, "You just need to discipline your child better"?
And we want to scream and say, "YES I HAVE TRIED THAT!" or "MY CHILD IS NOT A BRAT; HE HAS AUTISM!"
Because we have tried so many things to help our kids, and deep down we are already wondering if we are doing enough, if there is something else we could be doing and what if we fail our kids.
And if you have felt that way, this is what you need to know: You are not measured by what you do, but by how you love.
Loving your child is more important than how many words he has. Love knows no word count.
Loving your child is more important than her mobility. Love is all accessible. There are no ramps or wheelchairs that can prevent one from accessing love.
Loving your child is more important than his IQ. Love is not limited by intelligence, love expands as we discover unconditional love, no strings attached.
This loving thing means that we become a champion for our kids. We advocate, we educate, we believe in them.
This loving thing means that we see the beauty in our kids, even if others cannot see it, because they truly have so much beauty.
This loving thing means that we see how our children have enriched our lives.
This loving thing also means that we accept our children for who they are, not for who we want them to be.
Love your children well. Love them fierce.
Ellen Stumbo writes and speaks about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. She's passionate about sharing the real—sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly—aspects of faith, parenting, special needs and adoption. Ellen's writing has appeared on Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, Mamapedia and the Huffington Post.
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