Photo by Laura Belle Photography
Dear mom of a child with special needs,
As your child’s physical therapist, I have a front row seat to some of your child’s best (and most challenging) moments. The pure joy that you receive when your child is able to roll, sit, stand or walk are some of the most joyful days in not only your lives, but mine as well. While we’ve sometimes cried happy tears together when the major milestone is FINALLY met, I recognize that there might be hidden sadness that exists.
Sweet mom, I want you to know that I am in awe of you. Your resilience, bravery and ingenuity are second to none. Your ability to manage the hectic nature of the special needs world is something to which I aspire.
I am an unplanned passenger on the ride of your lives, and for that, I’m truly thankful. I value and respect just how transparent you are with the struggles and challenges that having a child with special needs brings. You didn’t choose this journey, you were pushed onto this ride, usually without your seat belt on, because there just wasn’t time. You’ve had to navigate the worlds of the NICU, PICU, special education and specialists with no prior preparation. More often than not, you were forced to learn new languages that were spoken by the medical personnel. Some of you were forced on the journey a little later in life. Just when your motherhood days were starting to get easier, something happened: your train derailed and the destination was changed without your consent. Instead of your child being special to you and your family, they have now become “special” – as in special needs.
The journey you are on has many extra passengers. The therapists, doctors, clinics and orthotists have filled up your calendars and drained your pocketbooks. Your other children have now become your helpers and cheerleaders. They are learning patience, love, and unparalleled compassion. They are learning to look out for those that need a little extra help. They are growing up a little faster than most, because wisdom acquired through their experiences has aged them.
Your “special” child teaches me so much about love, joy and priorities. Watching the persistence and determination they possess to practice new skills is inspiring. While your child is amazing, YOU, dear mother, are my true inspiration. Your relentless love for your child is incredible. Your child brings much joy to so many, but I recognize the nights can get long, and some days are even longer. I can only assume there are days where you count down every minute until help arrives.
I want you to know that your strength and determination as you navigate these foreign territories is out of the ordinary. The way you manage the challenges you encounter with humor, faith and resourcefulness, makes YOU my hero. You embody the old adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” You really are one tough mother.
With much love and respect,
Your Child’s Physical Therapist