I don't claim to know what it is like to have a child with special needs. At the moment, I do in fact have a child who has some special needs, but I have never really put her in that category.
But with my small insight into this world, I can tell you that mother's of children with special needs don't look at their child the way the rest of the world does. Our children are not a burden to us. We all have the same goals: to help our child succeed in life to the best of their ability.
While most parents are drilling words in their 18 month old children, I just feel so incredibly proud every time I walk in Audrey's room and see her standing and cruising. She has made so much progress and it has honestly been such an honor and beautiful thing to watch. To see your child overcome a challenge is truly one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever seen. It is because of this that you will often hear mothers of special needs children call them a blessing. And even if she never walks with grace and poise, I will still look at her as the most perfect creation.
Twice a week, I sit in a waiting room while Audrey gets both Physical and Occupational therapy to help with her low muscle tone. Two hours a week, I watch parents come and go with children with all types of needs. I secretly listen and watch the mother of a little boy with Down Syndrome grin from ear to ear every time he smiles at her. She is proud of him. We talk in the waiting room and I realize she is just like any mother. She loves to talk about him and I love listening to her talk.
Mothers of special needs don't feel embarrassed by their child. Most feel blessed. In their eyes, their child is perfection.
Yesterday was National Down Syndrome Day. I feel so privileged to watch amazing mothers, like my friend Krista, from afar.
So next time you see a mother of a special needs child, don't feel embarrassed to ask them about their child. Don't turn the other cheek. You don't need to feel uncomfortable. You don't need to feel sorry for them. They do not feel embarrassed by their child. In their eyes, their child is perfection.
*I realize these are very generalized statements that are not always the case. There are certainly parents who are neglectful and abusive of any child. I also understand that these mothers certainly at times feel overwhelmed or at times saddened by their child's condition. This is only said to bring light to the fact that whether our child is "normal", has physical conditions like Audrey, or different mental abilities, we all have the same joy and pride in our precious children.