Kids With Special Needs Are Not Given to Special People
I’ve had the pleasure of being a momma to a child with special needs for seven and a half years. In that time, I’ve done everything possible to give my child, Connor, who has multiple complex medical needs, the best life imaginable. I’ve fought doctors on what I knew was best for him, marched the front steps at the State Capital rallying for his rights and even traveled around the world seeking treatment to give him a better quality of life. To say I’m a momma bear is an complete understatement.
In all these years I’ve heard from family, friends and strangers about what a great job I’m doing raising my Connor man. I look down, shift my feet around and quietly say thank you. Then the dreaded words are said. “God only gives special kids to special people.” I kindly smile on the outside, but on the inside I scream. I hate that saying. I know these sweet people only have the most genuine thoughts behind this, but they need to know the truth — God can give anyone, yes, anyone, a child with special needs.
I’m not special. I’m not deserving of a little miracle child more than the next momma. I’m not that parent who goes to all the class parties with homemade cupcakes, makes the latest Pinterest project on organizing my laundry room. I’m not even the parent who remembers to sign the test folder every Tuesday evening. Nope, that’s not me. I’m ordinary and boring. I’m late to doctor appointments, I yell at drivers who don’t use their blinkers and I cringe when I see other moms at Target with their buggies full of organic foods and their well-behaved kids sweetly following behind. Agh! But I do know one thing: I’m a parent. I, like millions of other women, was so graciously given a child from God. My child just so happened to be born with special needs.
The feelings you encounter when finding out the news your perfect child isn’t so perfect is astounding. One can wallow in self pity, hate God for doing this to their child and accept that life for that precious child will be less than good. Or one can seek the good in a not-so-pleasant situation, find a greater faith in God and never accept anything less than perfect for their little miracle. It’s all in a matter of thinking. Having a child with any special need at all takes a strong person, and if you aren’t strong at first, you must start lifting the emotional weights life will be throwing at you. How you take on the responsibilities of this new life will ultimately determine what type of parent you will be.
We’ve all heard that saying: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I call that BS. My God is a loving God but a challenging one. He wants to see me thrive and grow into the person I was meant to be. Challenges along the way are all a part of the journey He has created for me; how I deal with them is up to me. God will give me more than I can handle, but He guides me and gives me the grace to encounter them.
In the past month, I’ve read six news articles on parents of children with special needs who have done horrendous, mind-blowing things to them. One mother poured perfume down her child’s feeding tube, another parent killed his child because he wouldn’t stop crying. Now please tell me again — God only gives special kids to special parents? Um, no. Thank you. It’s a sweet thought, but it’s just not true. I would hate to even think for one second that I could be put in the same category as any of these parents. God gives us gifts in the form of our beautiful children, special or not. He expects us to take care of them, love them and protect them.
I consider it a blessing to have my beautiful Connor. I’m thankful every single day for being able to raise such a precious miracle, but not every parent is like me. When you’re given a child with needs that are far greater than you can imagine, you must rise to the challenge and become the parent the child needs and whose life depends on it. It will be a tough, long road full of potholes and dangerous curves trying to throw you off course.
The next time you see a parent with a child with special needs doing a wicked awesome job, tell them exactly that. A simple, “Hey little momma, you’re doing a crazy amazing job raising that precious child of yours!” or even “Wow! I could only hope there are more parents like you out there!” or how about “You and your child are a match made in Heaven!” For most of us parents in the special needs world know our child is a blessing, however we could most definitely use a kind word telling us that perhaps we are a blessing also.