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When I'm Called 'Amazing' as a Special Needs Mom

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“Wow, you’re amazing.” I hear those words a lot from people. I’m baffled every time. How? I wonder. How do I appear to be so amazing?

Special needs moms are often compared to superheroes, like we’re supernatural. Like we’re doing things that are unthinkable, unheard of. Some people believe we were the chosen parents, that we were only given what we could handle. That children with special needs are given to special parents.

My eyes are outlined most days with dark circles from lack of sleep and stress. I’m always running out the door, positively late for something. I have surely aged, ungracefully, over the past few years. I can see it in pictures.

I’m amazing, they say.

I don’t feel so amazing when my alarm goes off in the morning and I’m certain I haven’t slept yet. I don’t feel amazing when I spend all afternoon on the phone with the insurance company and got nothing else accomplished. I don’t feel amazing while I’m holding my daughter so they can get more blood work from her already overly poked arm. I don’t feel so amazing when I need to choose between play dates and therapy for my daughter.

I don’t feel so amazing while I’m explaining and preparing my 5-year-old for another hospital stay. Or when I have to explain her conditions over and over again to the same people. I don’t feel so amazing when I feel a cold coming on or when I’m sick and I automatically begin to stress because I don’t have time to be sick. There’s no one to step up and step in to help me out. I don’t feel so amazing when my anxiety is overwhelming because I have extreme fears of not being around for my kid.

Amazing, astonishing, astounding, stunning, breathtaking, awesome, sensational, spectacular, extraordinary — just a few other words one might use to describe amazing. Not one of those words resonates with me.

However, in between the moments of what feels like survival some days, underneath my mask and cape, I do feel like a mom. A very determined, often tired mom who behaves just like any mom would given my circumstances. I’m a normal mom doing normal mom things — it just happens that my “normal” is different then yours.

I’m a mom who’s helping their child grow and blossom and thrive, just like you. Motherhood is as unpredictable on my road as it is on yours. The last thing I am is a superhero, expect hopefully through the eyes of my daughter, which would be an honor. I was not given special talents or special armor. I fear, I cry, I laugh just like all moms do.

My daughter does all the work. She’s the real superhero. All I can do is be her mom and cheer her on. That’s the easy part. She’s amazing, I say.

Originally published: August 4, 2016
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