Sometimes in the world of special needs parenting it often feels like we are the last train to leave the station
You’ll have friends with same aged kids who are sharing their milestones on social media.
I want to just be happy for them instead of drying my tears and wishing for milestone posts of my own someday too.
Doctors will hand you a pamphlet, and I am trying to make sure my child gets every therapy that’s been suggested for progress, but the result is nothing but waitlists and insurance denials.
The news is there’s another wait to be a patient for developmental pediatricians, genetics teams, specialty dentists, behavior therapists, and so on.
When you’re doing your best to attend family holidays and birthday parties but you find you’re alone in the playroom with your child while all the others are outside playing tag, or having a race.
The holidays come when special needs parents wish your child would start showing an interest in something more “age appropriate”, but they’re still committed to Thomas and Barney, while in grade school.
The day their younger sibling talks before they do, requests a play date with a classmate, or even tells you they’ve made friends and your stomach drops because you fear that day may never come for your child with autism.
When you no longer get birthday party invitations, and classroom parties aren’t a thing because your child is in therapy instead of in school, when girls nights aren’t on your social calendar anymore, and you can’t remember your last full nights sleep.
The conversations when your friends are talking about family vacations, and you wonder if they could even understand that your new reality involves daily aggression from your six year old child.
You wonder if you’ll always cry during an IEP meeting.
If they will ever enjoy a summer picnic with the traditional foods, or if they’ll ever be able to sign up for little league with their sister.
It’s not that there isn’t joy to be found, it’s just that you start to feel like your joy takes much longer to show up.
There’s also so much work placed on a special needs mother and the skill teaching that’s involved. Our joy requires prompting, visual schedules, timers, repetition, and a slew of other supports before we can ever see it happen naturally.
As a special needs parent it feels like we know where we need to go. We’ve loaded everything up into our suitcase.
You boarded the train and then you’re left waiting for the whistle that signals the train is leaving the station.
Just like we’ve watched the rest of the world do. For moms like us, we are always left waiting for our turn while the rest of the world moves forward.
This post originally appeared on the author’s facebook page.