Parents as Love Therapists

Parents as love therapistsIn spending time with my son in a children’s hospital, I can’t help but take in the sights and sounds and learn a thing or two about humanity. Being surrounded by so many other parents of children with special needs is both comforting and heartbreaking–especially in this setting.

I find myself listening to mothers and fathers soothing their children with such an intense love; it is compelling. I hear them as they change the diaper of their teenage son. I hear as they draw the attention of their child with hearing loss to the beeping sounds of machines. I also hear them heavily sigh as they drop into their cot for the night.

I think about how, without a parent’s love, children would just not be able to thrive. We push with gentleness, we encourage with determination, and we hope with an unrelenting energy that life will be better for them.

We carry them to therapy, we attend endless amounts of meetings, sign the many [often meaningless] paperwork. We research. We try. We read some more. And try some more.

We trust others to care for our children when we don’t have a choice. And, we question. We question. And question even more.

There’s occupational therapy. Physical therapy. Speech therapy. This treatment and that treatment.

At the end of the day, we learn that we are the experts in our children’s lives. No matter how many people poke and prod and inquire, we truly are our child’s most competent therapist.

What we provide as parents is what I like to call love therapy.

Nothing replaces it.

Nothing exceeds it.

Each of the children in the beds next to my son would not be where they are today without the love and attention their mothers and fathers give them unconditionally.

There is one message I want you to take from this:  If children in hospitals can thrive with a parent’s attention and love, imagine what you are doing for your child in the homeschool setting on a daily basis.

In the words of our ENT doctor: “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

You’re doing great, parents.

Never let go.

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Parents as Love Therapists

2 Responses

  1. The challenges can be great so much of the time with a child with special needs, and greatly magnified when they are sick. Parents as caregivers rarely or even never having any down time with no worries to recharge their tired body, mind and soul… yet continue in this so important role as love therapist for their child, always giving all that is needed and more. Wishing you and all parents of special needs children more lightness in their days and nights, more answers, less worries with all that they have to do and provide for their child. It takes incredible courage to navigate this journey.

    Suzanne February 1, 2014 at 11:47 am #
    • Oh, gosh, Suzanne. You raise such good points about parents never really having down time. It’s almost impossible. Even when given respite, the concerns never go away … so the mind never rests. I know that for me, my mind doesn’t even fully rest when I sleep. Thank you for this message and for your wishes. Indeed, the journey is a courageous one to trek.

      Gabriella Volpe February 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm #