How to Tell a Special Needs Parent, “You’re Not Walking This Journey Alone.”

The day of chaos starts as any other. Her youngest kids jumping on her as their own personal trampoline; the requests that feel as the demands she’s come to know are swinging to her from the left and the right. The mad rush to awaken school children not already brought to the morning’s shine by the laughter of the aforementioned toddlers..bath-rooming..dressing…breakfast…backpacks – none of which is complete without scuffling, followed by outcries of the wrongdoing only siblings can radiate. The familiar redirection / discipline / rant / word-flow-that-has-lost-its impact-but-still-is-parentally-necessary comes from her spontaneously.

On this day’s menu, beyond the outlook of laundry, milk spills, chasing of naked kiddos, gardening, meal preparation, meal clean up, baths and more of the spontaneous redirection, is therapy. Therapy organizing, arguing with insurance over, coordinating between various therapists, enforcing the school’s responsibility for…sticking to schedules, completing home therapy and anything else that comes up. Usually research.

Days like these continue on. A never-ending cycle of waking, filling the day with the same routines, finding her way to bed though sleep may never come, and doing it all again – the very next day. Other matters may insert themselves into the day, usually more aggravators. Realizations that her old friendships are gone, a fight with a spouse, an illness of a child, the awareness that the ‘scent’ she’s been smelling comes from her own body – it’s been days since she’s had enough time to herself to allow a shower.

She carries herself to the mailbox, cringing knowing her sights will set on the next medical bill for this or that. An envelope greets her. One unlike the others. Brighter. Less officially shaped. Personalized handwriting, marked with a familiar name. An unexpected delight of “Happy Mail”.

A far away friend sent her a card. A card with no particular reason to be sent other than for one woman to tell another that she gets it. That she thinks of the other. A card that is sent so for just one moment a smile will ride its way across the face of a mother as she continues about her life’s routine. So that for one moment, spread out numerous times through however many days it’s willing to linger on, a friend is reminded that she is not alone. She is reminded that another shares her journey, her heartaches, frustrations, her exhaustion…

At least that’s what I hope she felt when she received it.

A friend once asked me, “What can another ever do to help a fellow parent, parenting a child with special needs?

I could come up with a list…I might come up with a list…but in truth, there’s one simple answer. A card. A simple note (preferably funny) that signifies,

“I get it.”
“I’m thinking of you.”
“You’re not walking this journey alone.”

Nothing more is required.

Card : Delgrosso via Flickr

“Card” by Delgrosso via Flickr

Gina St. Aubin
Gina St. Aubin is a former Victim’s Advocate who now advocates for those with intellectual and physical challenges. Her eldest son is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep / Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a rare epileptic disorder causing verbal aphasia) and Developmental Delays. In June, 2012, her son also underwent a successful hemispherectomy. Gina is the editor, author and owner of Special Happens, serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the SPD Foundation, and resides in Colorado where she is a mother of 3, wife, blogger, writer and special needs advocate. You can reach Gina through various Special Happens connections on Facebook and Twitter, or email her directly.
Gina St. Aubin
Gina St. Aubin

10 Responses to How to Tell a Special Needs Parent, “You’re Not Walking This Journey Alone.”

  1. This is beautiful Gina. And a perfect reminder of how we should be supporting each other. So easy yet it means so much.
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