I remember the first moment I had to take criticism from a teacher about my perfect angel.
I had to make the choice: do I listen to this person, or do I cling to my own idea of who my son is? And it was hard. It was really hard. I’d never thought about some of the things she was telling me; never even considered certain skillsets or behaviors.
For me, it was a moment that changed our lives. I decided I had to become as objective as possible, to check out for myself what was going on. Because if I couldn’t see my child for who he really was – warts and all – then I couldn’t help him improve.
Oh, I don’t mean stop loving him, or adoring his sweet, lovable side. Or stop appreciating strengths like intelligence, honesty and that sense of fairness.
But the blindness had to stop. No teacher was going to come up and hit me over the head with a shovel like that again. And we were going to work on skills that needed help, so that he wouldn’t be so far behind in them again.
Since then, I’ve seen other parents hit that moment. I’ve seen many decide to close their eyes. And that’s completely understandable.
The ones who don’t, though; they’re special. They face the fears and grab the tiger by the tail. And it’s a really bumpy, rough ride. It’s unbelievably hard to face the fact that your child is not perfect. That he or she is, in fact, quite challenged.
To face that parents, children and family have some hard years, hard thinking, and hard tasks ahead of them. And that’s just to keep our heads above water, not to win the race.
To those of you out there who have done this, you are heroes. No, truly. Nobody else can know the pain and difficulty of these cold, hard facts and what they do to the heart. Very few can rise to the challenge, grab it by the horns, and say they will do their best to help their children in spite of everything.
What is it they say about being a good person? That it is not what you think, it is what you do that matters?
Your determination and actions will make a difference in your child’s life. You will make the difference. You will pull off miracles and see your children grow and learn.
I heard a saying once that our children choose us before they are even born. That they know who we are and choose us, because we will be perfect for them. That, as a parent of a special needs child, struck me perhaps harder than it should have.
Wow, your children made some good choices.