Warrior Mama, You are a Rock Star

Warrior Mamas (and Dads), everyday you do things for your child that other parents “couldn’t imagine” doing. Most of the time you don’t think about the time and energy it requires to meet your child’s very special needs. You simply do what must be done out of love: hours of therapy and medical appointments, providing education in the face of ignorance and fear, parenting with the physical intensity an infant requires even though your child is far older, and supervising your child with a level of vigilance unknown to most (across all environments and all ages). While others may not recognize the miraculous feats you perform on a daily basis (and you probably don’t either), I do.

Warrior Mama, I want you to know that you are a rock star.

When you find yourself in a conversation about potty training or other milestones with parents of “typical” kids, you try to listen and be engaged. Part of you wants to be included in discussions with other parents, even though another part of you may seek space and peace from a conversation that serves as a reminder of the challenges your child faces.

When the conversation turns to typical parenting challenges, you try to be empathetic, though you struggle with how different your perspective is when it comes to challenges during parenthood.

Warrior Mama, you are a rock star.

At play-dates with “typical” kids, you often choose to forego sitting with the other moms because the only way for your child to participate is if you are there to help initiate social interaction and play, or to help your child navigate the environment from a gross motor perspective. This can feel lonely on the best days and heartbreaking on the worst.

When people use a phrase, such as, “God only gives special kids to special people,” you often choose to graciously smile. I know that you may want to reply with, “How does it feel to know that God doesn’t think you’re special?” But you don’t.

Warrior Mama, you are a rock star.

On the days that knock you down and leave you on your knees and crying, you get right back up. No one would know because you ride the pendulum swing of emotions like a professional trapeze artist, with grace and finesse.

Even when certain moments out in the community catch you by surprise, resurfacing grief and sadness, your recovery is almost immediate. There may be a few tears behind sunglasses and then you’re back- ready to be a mom, therapist, teacher, and hero to your little one again.

Warrior Mama, you are a rock star.

When you overhear ignorant and hurtful comments about those with disabilities, you choose your words and actions carefully. At times, you choose to educate. Sometimes you choose to ignore.

When society wants to exclude, you fight for inclusion for your child and all those who move, think, and act differently than what society has determined to be “normal.”

Warrior Mama, you are a rock star.

You are no stranger to receiving unexpected diagnoses and labels for your child- some that you did not even know existed. While the news weighs heavy and carries many emotions, you also know something that most people do not know; no matter what labels your child is given, she will always be your child first. You have learned to forge a path through any circumstance.

You house has medication and other reminder alarms going off like it’s the background beat to the next hit song. Somehow you find time to do all “typical” parenting plus give medication, find new recipes for your child’s special diet, research sensory toys, implement a communication method for your nonverbal child, have patience through sensory meltdowns, and distract your child from licking the glass door for the hundredth time that hour. You would expect to have a clone of yourself by now. Unfortunately, you do not.

Warrior Mama, you are a rock star.

Other parents find solace in knowing that the exhausting physical parenting of the infant and toddler years will pass. They reassure each other by saying, “Your children will not need you like this forever.” Instead, you decide to find peace in taking one day (or sometimes one moment) at a time. You don’t know what the future holds.

Warrior Mama, you are a rock star.

Warrior Mama, the thing that most people don’t know is that you experience a type of joy that is foreign to all but a few parents- a joy that raises your heart to a truly special level. You celebrate what may seem to others as small accomplishments; you know how hard your child has worked, and you know better than to take any developmental progress for granted. You let your child lead. You know in your heart that your child’s life is not your life; she is free to be exactly who she is meant to be.

Warrior Mama, you are not only a rock star. You are strong.  You are courageous. You are needed. You are loved. Everyday you are a hero to a child who may never say, “I love you,” but who shows you love in the most incredible ways.

When I spot you at the playground, playing with your child in her own way (maybe she is near Coral who has her tongue out and head back- catching the wind), I smile and whisper, “Rock on, Mama. Rock on.”