Parenting, it’s not easy. And I am far from an expert. Typical children, children with special needs, you name it they really need to come with an instruction book. I used to say that kids did come with instructions but the hospital staff threw them away before you knew about them. Thomas was difficult to parent. I knew something was wrong but every “professional” I saw about him told me he was fine. Man that was hard. It wasn’t until he was almost 6 did I find someone to believe me. Then it wasn’t until Thomas was 12 that we were given a definite diagnosis. Insane I tell you. So while dealing with that we had Alyssa and Lelly who were by comparison “easy” to parent and raise. Lelly was much more spirited than Alyssa, she still is. Alyssa even in her early 20’s continues to meet every milestone of development perfectly on time. It’s amazing actually. After having Thomas who was not meeting milestones on time, it was a Godsend to have Alyssa who did so as if she read a growth and development textbook.
Samantha is in her own category. She’s 5 years younger than Lelly and the youngest of them all. She kind of has an only child personality going on. And sometimes I don’t know what to do with her. At 12 and a half she’s very independent and outspoken and not always in a good way, the outspokenness that is. The independence is great.
I identify with so many of the parents of the students I give care to. I don’t always know what it’s like to walk in all of their shoes but I know how to walk in mine. And many hurdles, decisions, issues and challenges are the same no matter what the students’ diagnosis is. Emotions are the same. When everyone was younger I always felt like I had one foot in the typical realm of parenting and one foot in the special needs realm. You know that poem about comparing having a special needs child to landing in Holland? (http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html). I always felt like I lived in Holland but my girls allowed me to visit Italy. It was and still is nice to have that privilege.