Friday, April 19, 2013

Common Ground

     I was asked a few weeks back, by a wonderful organization, Parent To Parent of Pennsylvania , if I'd be willing to be paired up with a new family as the more "experienced" ones. At first, I was surprised they weren't calling to get another status update on my own calls to my more experienced parents, which I may have not been exactly "religious" in my consistence with. I accepted despite not really feeling like I would be able to help at all. I don't feel more experienced. Its been a little over a year since we were told to seek out speech therapy, it feels like longer but hardly enough to be able to give advice of any kind.

     Anyways, long story short, we got in touch and she's a wonderful woman with a sweet family and little man with PDD-Nos. He's younger than Xander but other than that there's not much different. We had a lot to relate on. I love talking to other parents of special needs kids and getting to connect on that same level. Yea, parents of neurotypical kids are exhausted, worn out, feed up and overwhelmed, just like us, but for whatever reason there's not a 100% connection there. We aren't more important or trying to make a bigger deal out of our situation but it's a fact that I think nearly every special needs parent could agree with.

     Now that being said, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to promote some weird superiority complex, and I don't feel that somehow Xander's disability entitles me to complain more than the average parent. Quite the opposite, most of the time I don't say what I'm thinking because I'm afraid of my meanings being misunderstood, because I've made that mistake before. That's why its so helpful to have someone in your shoes to talk to, and I think programs like Parent to Parent are incredibly useful in that case. Advice and service ideas are wonderful but really just the common knowledge that someone else is going through the same thing, day in and day out, makes the program worth wild.

     Being a special needs parent is hard. Being a parent, in general, is hard. But sharing the experience is probably one of the easiest ways to make it a little easier. Kids are always going to be scratching at our last nerve and making us want to pull out our own hair but we wouldn't trade them for the world; challenges or not. And being a parent doesn't come without its perks. For example this evening, I got the most amazing deep tissue back massage courtesy of Xander and his Mickey Mouse airplane... I'm sure I will be feeling that in the morning though.

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