I really appreciate that Rob over at Lost and Tired, asks this question periodically. Rob is the parent of 3 boys all on the Autism Spectrum. Rob and Lizzie’s lives are extremely full (total understatement!) uber-full and exasperating!!….there’s not a lot of down time for them in terms of parenting around the clock and Lizzie suffers from health problems as it is.
A couple years back, I went through many sleepless nights and troubled days with the onset of my third child’s OCD/anxiety . I won’t go into detail, those that know me know how difficult it was. Although there has been a marked improvement, there have also been some serious relapses due to growth/maturity/hormones and medication malfunctions. One such relapse occurred through the end of summer into Fall of this last year, and it was VERY difficult indeed – I’m sure I blogged about some of it. I was feeling very lonely, only able to go to church, the store and lucky if it worked out to attend our local homeschool co-op where at least, while the kids were still in tow, I was able to commune with other moms for a few hours once a week. That in itself was therapy for me, but even then we only made it to half the session due to the anxiety disorder running amok at the time.
To say the least, I haven’t gotten out much - solo – for a very long time. Strangely, last evening I was left home alone for about an hour! My husband was off to work, my two older children were gone and my two younger ones were across the street at the neighbors enjoying a marshmallow roast. It was very quiet and I realized how I haven’t had an hour in my life like that for literally many years. We don’t vacation (really), as my one son is a terrible traveler (but we are working on that), and we don’t really go out to anything fabulous at this point in our lives, again due to mostly anxiety issues. We are rather boring, mostly by circumstances.
So, how could a parent like myself, with the stress of two boys special needs be helped? Well, a friend of mine posed the possibility of hosting something in my home, a spa evening with Arbonne products, and gathering my friends to me, being that it’s so hard to get away and go to them. THAT, was an excellent idea. It not only gave me something to look forward to that was different and welcome – it was pampering and relaxing, it gathered my friends together and I was able to indulge in many beautiful products I otherwise would not have ever bought, at an enormously reduced rate.
My friends were what made it happen. If it hadn’t been for their goodness and wanting to give me a special moment and support me, it wouldn’t have happened. I am very grateful. I am grateful my children could be entertained during that time – that the weather was nice enough they could enjoy playing outdoors. It was a lovely and refreshing time for me. A rare time. And while it might not be the thing for everyone, it was delightfully perfect for me. My husband appreciated it as I am primarily here with the children 24/7 while he works both a full time and part time job. He welcomed a special time for me.
So pondering the thought: what could you do for the parents of special needs children? Perhaps think out of the box for them – if it’s hard for them to go elsewhere, perhaps something special could be brought to them. Maybe it might be for the mother – a special time of pampering in the home with some special line of home-show products; maybe a luncheon, perhaps a baked treat, or gas card for the father; maybe a whole dinner brought to their door. Just something that focuses on the special parents of special children and relieves them just a little and let’s them know that others do care and want to do something.
And pray. Pray for these special people that God has seen fit to give special children to.