I SEE YOU BY ELLEN STUMBO
Having a child with a disability can be difficult. There are moments you wonder if anyone will ever understand or get what it is like to walk in your shoes. You parent a child with special needs and sometimes you feel alone and invisible.
But you are not. Today, I want to tell you that I see you.
I see you in the middle of the day, tired. Your hair pulled back in a ponytail and a stain on your shirt. You sacrifice so much for your child. You are beautiful.
I see you at the ballpark, cheering and encouraging the kids playing in the Little League. Yet, I know while you cheer your heart aches, wishing that your son could play ball too, not in a special league, but here, running and moving his body like those kids rather than spending his days in a wheelchair. You are courageous.
I see you at the therapy office programming your child’s speech device, entering phrases and words to help her communicate with others. You lean over to your spouse with a grin and push a button, I hear the computer’s voice say, “I farted.” You are funny.
I see you in the middle of the day; tired. Your hair pulled back into a ponytail and a stain on your shirt. You sacrifice so much for your child. You are beautiful.
I see you at the support group. New parents are visiting with their baby. They seem scared, nervous, and they are trying to deal with the diagnosis. You approach them, ask questions, affirm their feelings, and assure them it won’t always be easy, but it will be good. You are compassionate.
I see you walking into the school for the third time this school year, with a binder full of notes, lists, and goals. You don’t feel your child’s team is following the IEP, and you won’t give up inclusion for your child. You will do whatever it takes to provide the services that your child needs. You are resilient.
I see you at the hospital, a place you are too familiar with. Tubes, machines, tests, and specialists. Your child’s feeding tube is the least of your concerns. You are brave.
I see you at the restaurant, with a menu in your hand. But the noise is too much for your child, the smells and unfamiliarity overwhelm him. Soon, he is yelling and screaming. While people stare, you exit the place and get into your car as quickly as you can. You are flexible.
I see you at church asking one of the new moms if you can bring her a meal on Tuesday afternoon. You have so much on your plate, but you also remember how hard the first few weeks are after a baby comes home. You are generous.
I see you at social gatherings where well meaning people ask ignorant questions about your child or their disability. They make hurtful comments, or fail to recognize that your child is a child first. You don’t get angry, you don’t yell. Instead, you smile, answer their questions politely, and you educate them in a gentle manner and thank them for their concerns. You are gracious.
I see you out there in the world, living a selfless life. You give so much, you feel so deeply, and you love so abundantly. You are admirable.
These qualities you display are precious gifts you give to your child and to those around you, they don’t go unnoticed…I see you.