Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two Different Kids

We have two very different children.  In fact, they have almost nothing in common.  Tyler is a young man stuck in an aging man's body, and Sam is an 8-year-old body with a 16-year-old sass.  

I'm often asked if I was drinking when I decided I wanted another child after our experiences with Tyler.  No...but I've been drinking ever since!  (I'm kidding of course).  

I'm just one of many special needs parents who juggle non-typical and typical children.  This is a situation that I believe is under-discussed and under-appreciated.  After all, it mixes the challenges of giving intensive, and exhaustive care to the non-typical child, with the normal and no-less-exhaustive challenges of the typical child navigating in the typical world.  

In raising Tyler, we basically took the ideals of normal parenting, opened up the nearest window, and tossed them out. In fact, it was when we stopped trying to think "inside the box" and began to have an open mind every single day, that we started to understand him better. Tyler's thoughts, for the most part, were minute-to-minute, which meant that we just had to try to relax, and take handling him with that in mind. 

Then came Sam.  I think Sam took every typical tendency that Tyler was missing out on, ramped it up to five times the regular level, and ran with it.  She wants a phone, make-up, and probably even has a plot drawn up in her room that outlines how she and a few friends can rule the world.  She was born stubborn, opinionated, and willful. But she also has an amazing presence and charm that comes with all this drama.

Today I want to honor those parents who do the impossible, which is to raise a special needs child in this difficult world, and still have the skill and courage to raise typical children as well.  It's like having a degree in microbiology and deciding "heck....why not study rocket science while I'm at it?!?".  It truly is two different parenting methods.

I said in the opening that they have almost nothing in common.  While this is true, they do share some very important things.  They are both very loving and accepting people.  They are both beautiful inside and out.  They both display tremendous courage every day.  And most of all, I am especially proud to be raising them both.  

Be well and God bless.    Tom  

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