If you are a parent of a special needs child or adult you will relate to what I am about to say. We work hard all of the time and we don’t get much back in return on a daily basis. But what keeps us going is when we see our children grow and develop and that is one of the greatest gifts of all.
Brandon and I went to Dodger Stadium to celebrate my grandson’s sixth birthday. I had an extremely tough and stressful week. A dear friend choked on some food and within three days she died and we buried her. Several of my clients were experiencing very hard times and I was moving once again. Needless to say yesterday I had little to give. Just getting to the ballgame and back seemed to be more than enough for me to handle.
When Brandon got into the car he couldn’t stop talking about his new cell phone. I know how excited he gets about having a new phone. I listened and listened and then said Brandon it is my turn to talk. He continued talking. Then in a very stern voice I said, “Brandon I help you all the time and today I need your help.” I am not sure where that came from? Brandon looked at me and said, “Okay Mom, I’ll help you.” The words and the look on his face were priceless. Something wonderful had happened. Something had shifted.
Brandon got out his new phone and looked up on the GPS application to get directions to Dodger Stadium. His face lit up as he was able to retrieve the information and tell me step by step how to get to our destination. Once we arrived he was so proud of himself for accomplishing this task. When we left the game, Brandon was happy to be able carry all my belongings back to the car. He helped me at dinner by opening the restaurant door and being very polite. Being polite and using manners is something he rarely can master.
Brandon appeared delighted to help. Finally he had an opportunity to do something for me. Why hadn’t I asked him before so directly. He wanted to make me feel better the same way I have helped him all these years. I saw a new depth into Brandon something I had never seen before. Maybe Brandon just had to know how much I needed him as he needs me. We seemed to be on a leveled playing field for the very first time. Although I am still Mom he is now an equal. He is learning how to help me when I am down just as I have helped him.
From now on I will ask Brandon for help and assistance without thinking whether he can or can’t do it. I have been short-changing my son by never including him in my difficult days when I needed help. Now we have more in common. We both have good and bad days and it is okay to feel that way.
By showing Brandon and telling him how I feel it gives him permission to be himself and he now knows that everyone’s moods change. One day we can be up and the next day we can be down. Life is always changing.
I hope you will ask your special needs child or adult for help and see what happens. You too may be pleasantly surprised.