|On a field trip with a home school group. He said, I learned how to hold a starfish!|
First, thank you so much for the compliment. It is very kind and makes me feel good that there be some part of our lives that a person observes and thinks we are handling all this with grace and patience, and maybe even doing a good job. BUT...
I feel kind of weird about these comments and assumptions. You know, we are not angels by any stretch. We've no more or less capacity for patience than other parents. And mostly, when we began this journey, we were totally caught off guard. This is not what we expected or imagined, and when Charlie was diagnosed with Down Syndrome we knew not a thing about it. We didn't choose this any more than Charlie chose us.
You see, we are not specially equipped or specially chosen. If there is any reason beyond a random chromosomal anomoly in our becoming parents of a child with special needs, I believe it was that Ray and I needed this as a catalyst of increased dependence on Christ, and our eyes opened to an entire world of people who we did not have on our radar screens at all. If anyone was chosen for anything, God chose Charlie to teach us. He did not send Charlie to us so we would do a good job with him and take good care of him (though we are certainly charged to do so!). Is Charlie especially blessed by us being his parents (instead of, say, you)? Listen, if we can do it, anyone can. Jesus is at the pinnacle of our parenting journey, and if there is anything positive that we have done or are doing for Charlie, we credit it simply because we walk in total dependence on him.
So, to be honest, this post is inspired by a person I met the other day who told me after a short conversation that I am a saint for even wanting more children, that they could never do it, and I must have super patience, and good for me. The comment made me uncomfortable. Listen, if I have patience it is because I have been on my knees pleading for it, and have been made through my life's circumstance, sometimes in tears, to practice it. We are all called to care for those whose circumstances are meek. How blessed am I to have that lesson living in my care daily for six years, and maybe for the rest of my life if he outlives me. But I'm no super-human folks.
Anyone can parent a child with special needs or be a champion for a child with special needs. Any child can be a friend of another child with special needs. No special credentials needed. Just prayers and commitment. And if you think it will be a blessing for the recipient of that care, well, you are probably right, but you will be blown away at the ways that you are changed, utterly and tenderly, in the process.