As Mom To Special Needs Child, This Is What I Need My Friends To Know

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As A Mom To A Special Needs Child, This Is What I Want To Say To My Friends

Kimberly Minor

Dear friend,

Can you tell me what it’s like? I promise, I’m not intending to be rude, just genuinely curious.

The only child I have, well, she is different than the others, and while I am not sad or disappointed, I am curious how it feels to be you, instead of me.

How does it feel to hear your baby say, “Mama”? Does it fill your soul like the smell of cookies baking? Did you cry tears of joy? When they grab toys and figure out their intricacies, do you marvel at their hands? Did you swell with pride?

I know it must be exhausting to watch that precarious tiny human all day. When we moms joke that we kept the kids alive all day, your meaning must be much different than mine. How was it, when they were tiny and new, to hold them without cords or tubes? Did they look you in the eyes? Did they latch onto your chest, willingly and eager? Did you get to hold them in your hospital bed as you recovered?

I wonder if I am missing out. We both have our blessing, but mine came with different instructions than yours. I love her and I would never change a thing, but some days I marvel as your child communicates so easily, and I catch myself realizing that everything you and I have in common may not be much at all.

My home is not baby-proofed, because my baby doesn’t try to get into things. She lies there without a word, innocently entertained in the same toy for hours. Do you get to explain the things that happen? Does your baby understand why you correct her? Mine does not, and it kills me. I don’t even know if she knows I love her. But God, do I love her.

Dear friend, don’t be mad when I don’t always want to see you. Some days, it just hurts to know that there are parts to parenthood I was unequivocally denied. I get bitter, not because my lot is less than yours, but because it isn’t the lot I had envisioned.

I mourn more than just the words and steps, but the future and its overwhelming uncertainty. I mourn her wedding day. I mourn her first car. I mourn the grandchildren I will never have.

My friend, I am sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable that I feel this way… that I watch you in awe and wonder. Witnessing your life is like watching a movie’s alternate ending, and my curiosity just gets the better of me.

I hope you understand, my friend.

Sincerely, the special needs mom