Parenting a special needs child is the hardest thing most of us will ever do.
It’s not close.
With us always is the sense of the roadblock; the belief that no matter what, eventually, we’re going to run into it. No matter how good things are in the moment, no matter how important the small milestone just met was, we can never escape it. It’s just over the horizon waiting to stop us.
If we dream too big and run too fast or dare to hope bigger than the edge our unnaturally small canvas lets us, it’s just going to hurt worse when we eventually crash into the boundary of our family’s reality.
It’s cruel. And permanent.
The best many of us can muster is a faint hope that the road block isn’t real. That it’s created by doubt, frustration, fatigue, fear or one of the other countless emotional tolls this hard life exacts on us.
Maybe it’s just in our heads. We hope.
What if I told you that the road block was real. And that it wasn’t just in our heads. It’s as massive and permanent as anything we could dream up in our worst moments. It’s just not where we think it is.
Our universe is 13.5 billion years old. For longer than modern humans have lived, it was once entirely hydrogen. One element. One temperature. Nothing else.
Given enough time, hydrogen became everything that has ever existed. Me, you, a blue whale, the smallpox virus, your toaster. My special needs child. All from hydrogen. And time.
Eight billion years went by before the earth showed up. Another billion and a half passed before polymeric molecules called RNA developed the goal of duplication and then developed the capability to duplicate. The impossible coincidence of life began.
For over three billion years life came and went. Of the five billion species that have lived on earth, 99% have gone extinct. None ever spoke a word. Or used a tool. Or painted a picture.
The dinosaurs ruled for 160 million years and never developed more intelligence than a cat. Like all the species before them and all the species since, they were stopped by something. Something unconquerable. Some insurmountable barrier. Some roadblock.
The universe existed 100,000 times longer without mankind than it has with us. For 99.99993% of time nothing like us ever existed. There was a roadblock in the way of life. An insurmountable obstacle that was even bigger and more impossible than any of us could have ever imagined. It was impossible to scale or get around. It was something life could and never would get past. And then, suddenly, in the relative blink of an eye, we changed it all.
The roadblock is real.
It’s just behind us.
I’m a man of faith. Few things ground me in that faith more than allowing myself to bathe in the enormity of time and space. For me science isn’t at odds with my belief in God; it proves it.
My faith teaches me that my God looks at every one of us, every man, woman and child that has ever lived for an instant as if we were the greatest miracle ever created. When I think about the distance of time and space traveled to make us, it’s hard to argue with that perspective.
We are beyond the roadblock. Every one of us. Every footprint we leave in the sand behind us is a boundary broken. We are all in uncharted territory.
And all bets are off.
Every morning when I walk into my son’s room to hear is cheerful sing song scripting, I focus on just how far beyond the roadblock he is.
And what an honor it is to care for the miracle that is him.
About Care For Us
Care For Us is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to providing support for families of special needs children in San Diego county. All therapeutic services and support groups are free of charge. To learn more click here for information. If you’re interested in supporting us, click the donate link above.