A Letter To My Other Kids: From A Special Needs Parent

by Adrian Wood
Originally Published: 
special needs
Adrian Wood

To my other children:

Do you know that I love you?

I do, and it’s just as much as I love him — your younger brother with special needs who takes up much of my time and energy and thinking. I know you adore him. I have been overwhelmed with the deep-seated love that flows through the three of you and showers over him whenever you are in proximity. He adores the cuddles, shared Rice Krispies treats, and playing chase. He doesn’t say much, but he can pretend to growl, and his laugh is infectious along with his joy-filled eyes hidden behind blue glasses. I know you think he is amazing too.

I know it gets annoying though. It has to. I get tired of hearing myself say over and over, “I have to help Amos right now,” or “I can’t go. I have to stay home with Amos.” I’ve never been the stay-at-home type. No, I was the girl, and then the mom, who hiked to the top of the sand dune overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and the mom who whizzed down a terrifying slide at the water park. That was me, but that person seems a remnant of the past these days. She is often weighed down with your little brother who at nearly 3 years old still can’t voice his needs. And he is a runner (I mean that he flees, and boy, is he fast).

I’m trying to figure out how to give my time to all of you. Does my effort show? It’s not always Amos. Sometimes it’s just me being a regular mom who is selfish and wants to talk to her friends at the pool instead of watching the one-thousandth headstand. I’m her too, but still I am aware that you each need me too.

While Daddy is away, I always make sure to share my bed with one of you. I try to lie in your bed and talk about nothing. I really am listening when you ask why we don’t go out to dinner. We’ve been out twice now in two weeks. Did you know that I made sure that happened just for you? I’ve gotten a babysitter so I can build sand castles uninterrupted and swim out past the waves and float as I watch you surf. I want to be that mom you first knew.

This thing called being a mom is really tough, and I’m really trying. I want you to know that I adore you more than there are fish in the sea, and I want to be with you, hold your hand, smooth back your not-so-clean hair, rub zinc on your nose, and pull you into my arms for a long moment.

Please breathe in my efforts and remember to use your words to tell me that you need me when I seem far away. I know I make mistakes, and sometimes I tend to be greedy with my free time, but I promise I’ll keep trying. Amos is just one, and you three, my other kids, you’re the ones who painted my view of motherhood.

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