Many people have said to me over the years "Oh you must be a special mom to have been given these special children." I am sure they mean it as a compliment, but nothing grates on me more. I internalize that comment to mean "You must have been a person that deserved these kids." Doesn't sound nearly so complimentary, does it?
I think sometimes people say this to comfort themselves. They can think "I'm nothing special so I can't possibly deal with those kind of special problems." Which in turn means nothing bad can possibly happen to them. The only problem is, most of us felt that way at one time or another.
I truly believe I became a better mom because of Joe but I think Alan was sort of the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Joe had just been diagnosed when we got pregnant with Alan. Of course in those days, they were still tossing around numbers like 1 in 5000 and there was no known (or at least reported) genetic link so we actually thought that Alan would be our typical child. Wow. Were we wrong.
The boys have helped me grow as a person. I am stronger, more outspoken and way more confident than I was pre-kids. I also have a better marriage. I also am more resentful. I feel like we were short changed in the kid department. Most people I know have at least one kid that is typical and it seems like they are all gifted. (I know they aren't really, but most people brag about the good things they do and gloss over the "issues" that cause problems.) It just never occurred to DH and I that we would have not one, but two children with learning difficulties.
There is a wonderful photo story that a friend shared called The House Autism Built. I especially love page 6. The mother is quoted as saying “The
plain honest truth is that the plain everyday run of the mill common
person is given a child with special needs. At the end of the day
children with autism are not given to strong special people, we are made
strong and we are made special by having to raise that child with
special needs and, yes, we are very often given more than we can
In my opinion, that sums
it up. We are strong because of our children. We were not anything
special before they came along. It can happen to anyone!