Accepting Help When Your Child Has Special Needs (and You Need a Hand)
A heartwarming story about a Texas family who received generous help to build a pool for their son with special needs reminds me that sometimes in order to best help our children or just get by, we need to ask for—and accept—assistance.
I read a really uplifting story this week: Linda Comeux is mom to Jamon, a boy she adopted who was shaken as a baby and is blind and does not walk or talk. He swims for exercise, and in April the Cypress, Texas, family hired a pool contractor to build a pool for him at a cost of $40,000, reports Click2Houston. But shockingly, it appears that the company shut down before the job was finished—and the family was told it would cost at least another $15,000 to complete the job. Then their story aired on local TV and more than a dozen pool companies offered to help. A week later, one sent over a crew to do the job for free.
It's a story that surely warmed many hearts, particularly those of other parents who have kids with special needs. Because, better than most moms and dads, we know that sometimes in order to best help our children or just get by, we need to ask for—or accept—help.
Before I had Max who had a stroke at birth that resulted in cerebral palsy, I was a pretty fierce do-it-myself type. Then Max came along and suddenly, I found myself thrust into the world of special needs parenthood and barely keeping my head above water. Everything was so overwhelming, from the therapies Max needed to my emotional adjustment. As much as I wanted to take some control of the situation by doing everything I could, I needed a hand—and family and friends were eager to lend one. My mother and sister regularly came over to babysit (and gush about how cute Max was). My friend Wendy researched treatments for babies who'd had strokes. Another friend brought me a big pan of lasagna every week.
To this day, I am grateful for the outpouring of love and support I received back then. It got me through the worst time of my life. As the years have gone by, I've continued to not just get help but to ask for it when I need it, whether it's financial assistance from my mom to help pay for Max's camp or asking a friend to call in a favor and get Max an appointment he needs with a medical specialist. It's for Max's benefit, of course—and my own, too. Because it really does take a village to raise a child with special needs.
Ellen Seidman is a mom of two, editor, and professional snacker who blogs daily at Love That Max. You can find her pondering special needs parenthood and other important topics (such as what her next snack will be) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ even though she still hasn't totally figured out what that is.