Outside Looking In

There are a lot of questions that I get asked on a daily basis. Some are easy to answer, some are harder. You never want to give someone a wrong answer, but you hope with your experiences and knowledge, you send them in the right direction. More than half the questions I am asked come from parents. Their child is going through something and they are lost with where to start. Will everything change? How can I help them? And what about the concerns for their future? You worry about their independence, how others might treat them…What can we do for him/her? So this blog is for you – the ones that are on the outside looking in. This was inspired by you.

You never want to hear that your child isn’t healthy. You never want to believe it is true. So what do you do when the inevitable happens? As a parent, you’re the one that can fix anything and the one that will protect your children from everything. So what happens when a force comes through and you feel powerless to it? Your life suddenly becomes heavy and everything you dreamed and wished for is now out of reach.

I don’t have children so when I am asked for advice from a parent, it’s hard to answer. To help I’ve asked both my parents to give my readers some advice:

Never give up. There will be good days, and there will be tough days. Hang on long after you want to let go. The lessons you learn every day will make you strong. Once your child is diagnosed with something, quitting is no longer an option.

Stay positive. If you always look at the negative side of things, you will forget all the positives. Don’t let them ever forget.

Educate yourself on all the information and resources out there. Be open and help educate others. Help raise awareness and share your journey. You are not alone.

My parents showed me a lot of things. They showed me how to do good, what to strive for, and what I should stray from. As I got older, I started realizing that some of my traits were not by random. That I had picked it up from my parents, marks that seemed to have rubbed off on me. As a parent, you may not even realize what you are passing down to your children. The simplest acts can be remembered forever. They are your mark.

I am sure being a parent is a joy and a challenge every single day. I know you will never stop trying to help your child but I also know you can’t plan for the unthinkable. A book will not hold all your answers. Sometimes, you are going to learn things a different way. A way you did not see before, and I am sure your child will be behind it. They are your teachers, just as much as you are theirs. They will surprise you.

Their lives might be full of obstacles, to say the least. But I think it’s important to show them how to connect all the dots and figure it out if they want something. Make it happen, find a way. Be an example, show them that it’s okay to go out and try new things, even if it might prove challenging. Show them that they don’t have to get it right the first or second try. Everything we are – our character, our strength, our persistence – it lies on the tenth try, the hundredth. Don’t ever give up. Try just one more time.

I know as a mother and father you see and feel things nobody else does. I only know the perspective of the child. I can only see through their eyes. I know that their mind has a million ideas, I know their heart beats. I know there is something within them screaming and refusing to take defeat. Their dreams are too big, their vision too strong.

There is so much I could tell you, so much I think you should know. But where do I begin? I am learning every day, as are my parents. There is always something new to be learned. My advice for you, give them hope. You and I, we both understand. When the unexpected rips through your life, it changes everything. I think it’s important to let them make their own decisions, especially as they get older. They know their body better than anyone else. They know what they can and can’t do. If they want to try something new – let them. They cannot learn if you build walls around them. From experience, I know parents rarely let go of their children. It is usually the children that let go of them. We move on. New moments start to define us, new accomplishments are made. I know that my parents being protective was not to shelter me from the world. In reality, they only want me to survive. Like most parents, they want to hold their children up safely, above all danger. When you get older, you start to realize all they have endured to do just that.

I believe in my words. I believe in my future. I hope you never lose sight of your child’s. Take all the moments given to you and create a life. Make it happen. Make your own hope and live positively and passionately. Show them how to live. Give it all you have. Do not live a life full of suffering. Continue to be strong, maybe crazy at times, and accept what you cannot change. When you are down, get back up. Be unstoppable and never forget the power of a smile. There is a strength and a love that you only get when you have children. And as a child, that strength and love fuels you, pushes you, and never allows you to give up. It is something that is continuously going through you, protecting you, and building a strength around you that never dies. No matter what happens.

Being a parent is one of the greatest titles and greatest blessings in the world. I am very lucky to call my parents mom and dad.

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