You learned how precious time and patience is having to raise a child with special needs. These two things you ever so carefully keep from slipping through your hands until the day comes when you realize how much your child has grown into a better person who is up for greater challenges ahead. The time comes too when you can finally lie low from work and hopefully spend more time with your child.
As you enter your retirement years, the more you are drawn to thoughts you have always dreaded, like what your child’s life would be like if you were no longer by his side. Sadly, this is a passage that all parents will ultimately go through once they are old, but probably more so if your child has special needs. Are you like any of these? Read on for valuable lessons you can internalize as you embrace growing old with your child:
Empower Your Child
You have seen your child blossom into adulthood in what seemed like a flash. The journey sure was filled with joy as he surprised you with milestones you never thought were possible. Now that he’s a grownup, it does not mean you have to stop rooting for more of his wins.
Instead, take this time to give them encouragement on the things they are interested in doing. If they want to learn a sport or a craft, tell them that they chose well and will be great at it. If they want to expand their social circle, tell them how it is going to be exciting getting to know people from different walks of life.
At some point, they are going to encounter setbacks like not reaching their targets when training for a sport or getting rejected by someone he made friends with or for a job offer, and so you have to reassure them that it is but natural to have down moments in one’s life. Make it known to them that what matters most is how they respond to these upsetting situations. Tell them to not be so hard on themselves, to take their time to restore their vigor for life and their passion, and that you will always be by their side.
In Case of a Debilitating Illness
Although anyone would dread finding out they have a severe illness, you can better work things out if you get checked for any incurable disease. That way, you can amply prepare for the day you can no longer attend to each of your child’s needs. Also, the earlier notice will allow you to gradually break to them your sad but inevitable fate.
As soon as you are aware of your condition, book an in-home care service so that your child need not be overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for you. The sooner you do this, the better you can communicate your treatment preferences. Also, you can orient the assigned caregivers of your household’s unique setup and how they should interact with your child.
More importantly, you should take time to think of how much of your vulnerable state you will allow your child to see. Eventually, he needs to spend your last moments with you. It is traumatic for every child to see their parent pass away, so you have to mentally prepare to present your best demeanor when the final day comes. Make sure he has relatives or trusted friends to keep him company in the mourning process.
Know You Gave Your Best
As you recall those years of parenthood, take time to celebrate yourself for how well you did give the resources you had. Give yourself props because you know your practical teachings somehow left a mark in your child’s life. Despite your worries, reassure yourself that they are going to do just fine once you are gone.
Let Your Child Take Care of You
It is an absolute honor for a loving child to make it up for all the years their parents took care of them. If they went, let them care for you when you can no longer care for yourself. Of course, do not pass up every opportunity you can to compliment them for doing such a great job and being a very reliable person.
A special needs child brings a bunch of blessings into any parent’s life. Each day you know their unique qualities better is a chance to marvel at a God-sent beauty that you would not exchange for the world. You also get to explore facets within yourself which you never knew existed.