20 Things Every Parent of a Child with Special Needs Can Be Thankful For

It’s that time of year when we are called to stop worrying about all the things going on in our lives and start being thankful for them. That can be a little tricky when your life feels like a big roller coaster hurtling from one overwhelming stressful situation to another.

Feeling like you don’t have many blessings to count this year? Remember that anything can seem thanks-worthy if you look at it the right way, and see if any of the following can help you build an attitude of gratitude.

Be thankful for …

1. That big developmental leap your kid made. Or that small leap that only you noticed. Or the way that, although there was no leap, there was also no backslide. Or the way the backsliding was really not so significant. Or the way that huge backslide makes room for new gains!

2. All those parenting books you accumulated during the year, which make such nice paperweights and bookends and decorative accents and resolution goals.

3. The know-it-alls you encounter at school and at doctors’ offices, because they give you such good material to rant about on Facebook.

4. IEP meetings, for the exhilarating feeling of relief you get when you’re done with them.

5. People who make rude remarks in restaurants, because they reassure you that however bad your kid’s manners are, some adults are worse.

6. Sleep. If you manage to get any, that’s something to be thankful for.

7. The ability to use your child’s special needs as an excuse to get out of things you don’t want to do in a way that nobody can question. It’s bad, it’s wrong, but still: thankful.

8. The people at school who help and appreciate and enjoy your child.

9. The people at school who help and appreciate you and give you all the good gossip.

10. Shirts that do not show stains. Plaid, you rock! Go paisley!

11. The one food your kid will eat. Better than nothing!

12. All those negative parenting articles on the Internet, for showing you that every parent is getting it wrong, and you have so much company.

13. iPads and smartphones and all those electronic devices you can’t remember how you ever amused your child without.

14. Haters who are gonna hate, for firing up your rockets and launching you into great feats of advocacy.

15. Your child, for keeping you from having all those boring typical parenting worries.

16. Insurance companies, for helping you hone your stellar phone advocacy skills.

17. That throbbing in your temples that lets you know you’re alive.

18. The excellent exercise you get chasing your child around.

19. The education you’ve received from all the research you’ve done into your child’s disabilities, needs, and opportunities. Surely one day there’ll be a life-experience degree for you.

20. Free roller coaster rides, every day. Beat that, Disney!

More to be thankful for

For real, what are you feeling thankful for this year? I’m thankful that my two young adults have at least some sort of job or meaningful work at the moment, and that I never ever have to go to an IEP meeting again. Yippee! Share your reasons for thankfulness in the comments.

 

Terri Mauro

Terri Mauro is the blog manager for Friendship Circle. She was previously the About.com guide to Parenting Special Needs, and is the author of 50 Ways to Support Your Child's Special Education and The Everything Parents Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder. You can read more of her work on her website Mothers With Attitude and listen to her every weekday on the Parenting Roundabout Podcast. Terri has two children with special needs adopted from Russia in 1994.

Adapted with permission from  www.friendshipcircle.org/blog