I remember the day I accepted I’m a Special Needs parent.
For two weeks, my daughter’s new chair sat in a corner of my kitchen. My eyes teared. My stomach burned. My heart sank. I felt I’d failed my daughter. That I had done THAT chair to her. It was called a hi-lo chair, which could be adjusted to sit high or low. But THAT chair had an ergonomic cushion and wheels.
At five months old, she’d started developing scoliosis… though we later found a preventive care regimen for her spinal curve. But at that time, the scoliosis was getting worse. Her little back arched no matter what I did, though the curve stayed flexible.
During Aubby’s next home Physical Therapy session, the therapist asked how using the chair was going. I just told the truth, that I couldn’t stand to look at it yet. But then I told a lie, that I was warming up to the idea.
I watched from beneath my hair, my gaze otherwise fixed on my lap, as the therapist took the hi-lo chair out of the corner, adjusted it, and said, “Let’s give this a try… There, see? She’s sitting up better!”
It slowly dawned through the resistance I felt that those words of hers brought… relief. I finally came around to the idea — because if she was sitting better, then it wasn’t my fault. If she was sitting better, the chair would help me help her.
And then I realized the chair was just a tool, like a spoon or a cane.
Special Needs living is just a new norm, and the new norm just has more tools.
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