Charlie is in an unusually good mood for this time of day. It’s almost 3 p.m., and his day is still going strong. He’s been shuttled to Speech Therapy, school, and now OT without a break in between.
We arrive 20 minutes early to OT which usually puts a strain on the visit but not today. Charlie is happy to be here and excited to see his therapist. While we wait in the lobby, we practice spelling his name, which he’s mastered. Yeah!
Suddenly, a tall, slender boy interrupts our time together as he prompts us to get up. He’s vacuuming the front lobby, and we’re in his way. We oblige his request which delights this non-verbal boy who can’t be much older than 10.
Charlie grabs my hand without protest as we move to a new spot. While I pause to enjoy this moment of connection with Charlie, my heart warms. Another dad of a young boy, not much older than Charlie, strolls by, grinning ear to ear. His joy is infectious and fills the room.
The boy, who is vacuuming, awkwardly reaches out to touch this dad, and he so sweetly engages him, touching his shoulder and grabbing his hand with the most embracing of grins. I’m amazed and overwhelmed by the delight this kindness brings to the non-verbal boy. Can you imagine how many other people would have moved away from this boy who “looked different”?
This dad’s act of kindness and pure heart enchanted everyone around, even Charlie, who enjoyed his enormous grin and joyful posture. I’m thankful for this dad and other special needs parents just like him. If you pause and look around, you will see that your child’s SDC and therapy lobbies are filled with these “special” parents.
YOU are special! Whether you believe it or not, being a “special needs parent” changes you for the better. Charlie has taught me to love in new ways, embrace those different from me, and enjoy the amazing moments even if they are unconventional. For this, I am thankful, and I’m thankful for you, Special Needs Parent.
Look in the mirror! You are strong and amazing in your own way! You are a gift to your child who is thankful for you every day even if they can’t verbalize it. God created you for this. You got this, and I’m thankful to share this journey with you!