Its 8:40 am. I sit in my usual spot for that time of day at Athens Regional Pediatric outpatient clinic. My five-year-old son, Drew, is in his physical therapy session. Drew is a regular, which makes me a regular as well. How regular, you ask? Four days a week, regular.
I have my favorite chair, I know which parents will be in on what day. On a typical morning, my time is spent replying to emails and browsing through social media. But this one morning will forever stand out to me. While sifting through the myriad of kid videos and pictures posted by friends on Facebook, I could not help but notice at least three posts that boasted the hashtag #maketimestop.
These are sweet, harmless posts, and I get that. But that morning, it seemed almost cruel to watch a one-year-old take his first, precious steps while knowing my five-year-old (who is now 10) was struggling to simply stand up on his own, and requires significant assistance just to do that
I don’t remember exactly the hair that broke the camel’s back that morning, but if I were a betting man, I’m pretty sure I would place the blame on a post of someone’s two-and-a-half year-old carrying the remainder while doing some long division. It was time to turn it off. I was left with nothing to stare at but the wall. During my blank stare, I had a thought. What was Drew fighting? The answer was clear… Gravity.
He has to battle the one thing that keeps us glued to the side of this enormous marble. Gravity keeps all of us from being flung into space, but it is ultimately Drew’s enemy. This thought has stayed with me for years. The more I think about it, I realize we all have “gravity” in a sense; Drew’s is just very obvious. Okay, Jason, where are you going with this? I want to share my unique experiences as a special needs parent, who also works alongside special needs families.
My goal is not to scare you or solicit pity in any way, the goal is perspective, appreciation and acceptance. Some of what I will share is meant to be funny, some of it is not. Either way, I want to share my journey with people who may not understand the “gravity” of our situation.
The thing about the gravity of a special needs family is that the whole family carries it, not just the individual who is differently abled. We have to work together to help each other up, literally and figuratively speaking. We support each other and the other special needs families who “walk” beside us. This is our journey…fighting gravity together.