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The Secret I Want My Daughter’s Therapist to Know

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Dear Therapist,

Thank you. What you’re doing for my daughter, Willow, is amazing. I’m in awe of how far she’s come. And as I’ve told you many times, I couldn’t do this without you. Seriously.

But can I tell you a secret? You’re also helping me. OK, I should clarify before you start charging me double. What I mean is, I get a lot out of my daughter’s therapy sessions. Let me explain.

While the world sees my daughter’s limitations, you see her potential. You share my dreams for Willow’s life. You want her crawl, to walk, to fly.

You are her cheerleader. You’re a constant encourager. And you celebrate every milestone just as I do. It feels good to have someone on our team. Your presence reassures me that we’re not in this alone.

While Down syndrome is new to me, it’s not to you. You let me know what might happen, what you’re seeing and what you’ve seen before. You explain everything thoroughly but compassionately. While Willow is your patient, you genuinely seem to care. You know this isn’t easy for her. You know this isn’t easy for me.

While your job is to teach Willow how to crawl, walk, play and eat, you’ve graciously taken on the chore of being my friend. I know that’s no easy task. I like to talk, and sadly, you’re often the only adult (other than my poor husband) I see most days. Sure, we may not hang out after hours, but I consider us somewhat close. I’ve cried in front of you, for Pete’s sake. But I’ve also laughed with you over silly things like TV shows, poopy diapers or parenting fails. Man, I can’t tell you how good that feels. As you know, this whole special needs parenting thing can be draining, especially the therapy part. You let me check out for a moment and forget what we’re doing and why you’re here.

I’m not exactly sure how long you’ll be in our lives. Schedules change, needs change and insurance will only cover so much. But, as I said earlier, I’m so grateful you’re here right now. While I look forward to the day Willow will no longer need you, I wonder what that will mean for me. Will I be ready to say goodbye? Will I be able to do this alone? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I guess if Willow can learn how to fly, I can too.


Willow’s mom

A version of this post originally appeared on The Mighty Willow.

The Mighty wants to hear more about relationships and special needs parenting. Can you share a moment on your special needs journey that strengthened your relationship? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Originally published: May 15, 2015
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