You know, if you read a lot of blogs written by parents with special needs children you start to see posts that say things like “No, I don’t wish my child was ‘normal,’ because then he wouldn’t be the same” or “If I had the power, I still wouldn’t change things. I love my kid how she is.”
I call bullshit. Not on the fact that these parents don’t love their children no matter what, but on the fact that they wouldn’t change things if they had the power. I love the little man. I love his sweet nature and his contagious smile. But I would give anything to take this disability away and give him the chance to live an easier life. Even if it means he turns out to be an asshole.
It is all just silliness, of course. None of us have the power to change these kinds of things. But still. Those kinds of statements just rub me the wrong way. Sort of a, “See! I love my child so much! So much that I would keep everything this way! Our family is so accepting and loving! I can’t believe you want to change your kid.” Now, I know the parents saying these things don’t think that way. They are all – in general – lovely people and I get the sentiment they are going for. But I think it sets a bad precedent. I think it would do more good for special needs parents everywhere to admit that we would love for our children to be able to live a “normal” life and, in turn, create an atmosphere where we can all admit our secret wishes.
A good healthy dose of honesty. I am a real parent, not someone who had achieved a higher state of being through my personal challenges. I dislike sickness and whining just as much as you do. I’d love to get a few minutes alone too. I can’t always balance on the pedestal some people want to put me on. [I’m not trying to brag here, just pointing out a common reaction to “my kind” of parent that I’ve experienced.] But I’m still a pretty good parent. So are you, probably.
You aren’t a bad parent if you wish your child had it easier. You aren’t a bad parent if you are tired of changing diapers way past diaper-changing age (we are on year five now and it sucks – I think I’ve said this before.). You aren’t a bad parent if you wish that you could, just once, leave the house without having to plan your day around handicapped access.
It is okay to admit that you hate a lot of things you have to do every day. It is okay to admit that things would be easier – for your kid and for you – if things were different.
Wishing that things could be different doesn’t mean you love your child any less. It just means that you know what challenges they face and wish you could help more. Isn’t that what we want to do for all our children?