Parenting is hard.
Special needs parenting is REALLY hard.
Trying to be everything I need to be for my normally developing (but very strong willed) child while also ensuring that my abnormally developing and non-verbal child stays safe, healthy and progresses in his own way, seems downright impossible at times. Not to mention the full time teaching gig, during a pandemic, with blended classes all day.
I am a bit of a perfectionist, and definitely a control freak, when it comes to many things. Logically, you get better at things as the years go on through experience and practice. It is hard to accept that this past year was not my finest for parenting or teaching— in fact both of those areas have been harder than ever and I know I’ve declined in both. But, I must remember to have grace for myself. We were told as educators to show grace to our students; we were told as parents to have grace on our children as they faced this new reality. Why then is it so hard to show grace to ourselves? We are actively surviving a pandemic, and to have any progress at all this last year should be considered a win.
My oldest is currently playing outside on the swing-set, and has been for a good 30 minutes now— probably the longest she’s ever done so. That in itself is a win, as she does not love to play by herself, but she’s learning how to use her imagination more and more lately. She stills throws epic fits when she doesn’t get her way, and they have definitely worsened since last March. But we have seen more quiet moments of love toward her little brother since then too, and she is learning how to better open up about her emotions.
My youngest doesn’t have a way to communicate yet, and he may be driving us nuts with his recent eating habits (refusing to eat almost all real food but still wanting to eat dirt and leaves and toilet water ), but he knows how to be loved and how to show it. He may not be able to understand what forgiveness and love are, but he is a master at loving wholeheartedly and the whole “forgive and forget” thing. You will never meet a more forgiving five year old, I guarantee it! I screw up a lot, and he doesn’t ever hold a grudge 😉
I don’t have much of a point here today, other than to say this: whatever you are doing, you are doing it as well as YOU possibly could in this moment, and you should be proud. Allow yourself to have grace for the imperfections and take note of the progress made, no matter how small. Here’s to a better 2021