If you ask a special need parent to describe having a typical child after their first born who happens to be a child with special needs, most would describe it as healing.
Some refer to this as having a Rainbow Child.
A child that helps heals the void of all that they missed with a child who has a disability.
It is a very healing experience to have a child that is physically capable of meeting all the milestones that your first born could not.
It becomes a bittersweet realization.
I remember the day that my typical child got up on all fours, rocked three times and crawled.
I smiled because I was celebrating my youngest son’s milestone while I cried because I was grieving that my other child never was able to perform that amazing physical accomplishment.
And it never got any easier.
You're celebrating milestones, yet grieving the loss of them at the same time.
The full lesson however in healing is in realizing that the child that is offering you so much joy in being able to witness these milestones holds the key in modeling how it's done to an older sibling.
If I watched close enough my typical child was quietly teaching, quietly pushing, quietly inspiring, quietly motivating, and quietly encouraging an older brother.
The ultimate healing was there, and I realized I didn't have to carry this grief about what my first-born couldn't do (and may never do).
It was about celebrating differences, and recognizing that it didn't matter that I missed out on so many milestones with my first born because I had so many other amazing memories to fill that void... the first time he smiled at his grandmother when we never thought he would, they first time he rolled over, the first time he was able to swallow a spoonful of pureed food.
Life is full of accomplishments and a variety of different kind of milestones and we meet them throughout the course of our entire life.
It doesn't stop with the basics crawling, walking, and talking.
We're all making progress on earth until the day we take our last breath.
My typical child brought so much more healing than I ever expected.
What I thought would be an experience of all the things I had missed out on, it actually opened my eyes to all the things I wasn’t seeing.
- It’s never too late for any accomplishment to happen.
- Acknowledge your grief, but let it go before it clouds what you should be seeing.
- Be compassionate with yourself and all the feelings that come along with parenting children with different abilities.
"When you can tell the story and it doesn't bring up any pain, you know it is healed."
If a venue improved its changing facilities, would you be more likely to visit it with your disabled child?