Thursday, November 20, 2014

Finding a Soft Place to Fall

We're supposed to be strong and hopeful.  Advocates, fighters and voices for our children with special needs.  We are expected to have courage as we watch our children struggle.   It is assumed we have broad shoulders and are able to let painful stares and cruel words roll off our back without a second thought.   Believed that we are brave and able to withhold concerns about our children not meeting milestones, struggling with sensory issues, or not sleeping through the night, and fearing for the future.  Strong, resilient, faithful, and focused.  Never feeling discouraged or overwhelmed with all that life throws our way.  Because we can handle anything in our path.

But the truth being; we all need a safe place to fall.

The people I have there for me I can count on one hand, and I don't even need to use all five fingers.  I mean truly be there for me if I had a crisis in the night and needed someone to call to watch my typical child while taking my child with special needs to the ER, those that I would call if I had a flat tire and was stranded, someone I could call to ask me to bring me a gallon of milk.  Someone just to listen about my heartache, my hopes and dreams for my child.  And I'm not the exception but rather the norm when you have a child with special needs.  Our support is significantly decreased, even more so depending upon the level of severity of your child's condition.

Sometimes you think someone is going to be your safe place to fall, but then you find yourself falling hard, looking up realizing the person you thought would catch you couldn't do it.  And for a moment it hurts.  It hurts because you needed someone in a really difficult moment.  Maybe that was just to say today is hard.  Or gosh, I'm so worried about my child because of x, y and z.   But they were too busy, or couldn't make time, or went about their lives not even looking to realize you had been left behind. 

For a moment you might abandon the idea of ever having a safe place to fall.  That unconditional person or group of people in your life that is there for you, whom you can say anything to without an ounce of judgment cast in your direction.  That hears you, that holds your hand, that offers you a hug even though there is nothing else they can do.  A person who genuinely cares about you and the well-being of your family and your child with special needs.  And if need be drop what they were doing to be there for you in a time of need.

That safe place to fall is critical for refueling a special needs parent, to remind them when all feels lost that they're not alone, that they don't have to carry the weight of this journey all alone.

When the world gives us harsh cold winds our true friends, like our favorite blanket, wraps us up in warmth, comfort and a soft place in which to fall. Anjie Henley


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.