To the Parents Wondering What I'm Thinking as an Early Intervention Professional
To the parent I just met, who looks at me with wide eyes wondering what in the world I am thinking of you and more importantly of your child. I see it in the eyes of every new family I come in contact with in Early Intervention. The look that says, “She is judging me and wondering what I did to ’cause’ this.”
See in my profession, I don’t get the call to come out and meet you and your children unless someone thinks there is some sort of delay. I wish it were different, but that is my reality. Well, now our reality. All the things I want to tell you are jumbled in my mind too. I want to tell you everything will be OK and not to worry. But I know you will worry because I too have sat in your seat and wondered all the same things. That is not what I want to tell you about — the worrying we can do together later. Right now I want to tell you exactly what I am thinking.
I want you to know what I think is simple. I think of how happy your child is looking at you. Their eyes light up as you look at what they are doing. They smile and laugh with you or maybe just glance your way. They know they are loved. You make sure of that. I think about how even though you have probably seen this a million times already today, you smile and say, “Wow, that is amazing!” I admire that patience.
I think about how hard it is to sit where you are, wondering if something is possibly “wrong” with this joyful baby or toddler. I see in your eyes that you want to cry, but you usually don’t. I admire your strength.
As we talk and the questions get more personal I see you thinking over the million different things that have happened and searching to pinpoint what is “causing” this. I will then tell you a secret: most of the time we don’t know, but what I do know is it was not something you did or didn’t do. I want to reach out and hug you but resist. I know how hard it is to hold it together, so instead I reassure you I am hear to listen and talk through anything you can think of.
I think to myself how wonderful you are. You reached out to me to seek help for your child, and that is sometimes the biggest hurdle we as parents ever face, recognizing we do not have all the answers. I leave your house smiling to myself, thinking about how lucky I am to get to work with you and how lucky your child is to have you.
And that is what we are thinking.
Getty image by emeliemaria