It’s Official…It is hard being a parent of a child with special needs.
Or any parent for that matter.
I sometimes get caught up in the “I can’t act like it’s hard because I don’t want pity routine.” I don’t want pity; I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or for Olivia. We have a wonderful life; we really do.
But it is hard.
I try to act like it’s no big deal to carry her from point A to point B because she’s tired…even though it’s like carrying a 50 lb. wet noodle. Thank God she’s small for her age but still.
I act like it’s fine that she’s still in diapers even though every time I go to Costco I swear it’s the last box I’m buying. When I return a month later and buy another box, I want to scream F*!K at the top of my lungs because I’m so angry that I have to buy yet another box. But I don’t. I smile and pay the cashier and lug my supersize box of Huggies home. Again.
I act like it’s fine that every time we go somewhere she upends someone’s drink or hits a baby on the head or freaks out over certain noises. Aw shucks, people, that’s just the way it goes.
I act like it’s ok that she’s not like other 9-year-old girls.
I act like I don’t worry about the fact that someday Matt and I will be gone and who will take care of her and how will we pay for it?
But then I’m reminded either by a blog or a friend or a quote that it is hard. And it’s ok to admit that it’s hard. That doesn’t make me weak. That doesn’t diminish my love for Olivia. It doesn’t make me pitiful.
It makes me honest.
The other day my sister-in-law was spending the day with us at the lake and Olivia kept getting into the soap and the toilet and whatever trouble she could stir up. My sister-in-law looked and me and said “This is so hard.” Normally I would just shrug it off and say “Well, you know, it’s just Olivia!” but that day I looked at her straight in the eye and said “Yes, it really is.” Later on, she did Olivia’s hair for me and got her dressed. It was so nice to have a little break.
The other afternoon my friend Amy and I were having a conversation about Olivia. Amy is one of the few people who I can be totally, brutally honest with. I was saying how it’s so hard sometimes and I feel like sometimes I don’t get as much help as I need or want. Amy looked at me and said “It’s because you and Matt make it look so easy and so effortless.” I thought about that for a while. It made sense.
All of this to say that it’s ok to cry Uncle once in a while and ask for help or just admit that you’re tired and it’s difficult. It’s ok to admit that, yes, it’s hard. It doesn’t make you weak or pitiful, it just makes you truthful. And admitting it may end up making you feel a little better in return. Or at least get you out of bath and diaper duty once in a while.