What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

It is funny but when you are young the one thing you are asked more than anything is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  The answers given are always interesting especially if you ask a three-year-old.  They usually respond with an unusual combination like a candy maker and astronaut.  But the point is from such an early age, we seem to have our eye on the future… the what do you want to be?

As time goes on and one’s interest become more focused and more finite, then the decision of “what you are going to be?” becomes a bit clearer…the path a bit more defined.

Soon you find yourself at that moment where you have to choose a path…and the rest of the options will then fade away.  Like the moment you declare a major… suddenly you are on the path to a goal, so the wish and desire to “try” other things takes a backseat to the one to achieve this goal.

With good fortune, the path you chose, and the goal you set make you content.  Then you can enjoy the journey as well as the moment you achieve your goal.

I went to college for nursing, I love to help people, I love the medical stuff and I loved the caring that goes into nursing.   I was happy with the path I chose and it did make me happy.  I chose community health as my focus; I did not choose to work in a hospital and I really have never regretted it. This job required caring, patience, flexibility and knowledge of community health issues.  I felt comfortable with this…so the job was a good one for me.

Time marched on and then I was faced with a job change… the choice to continue to work or become a stay-at-home mom for my first child.  It took all of two seconds to decide that I wanted to be home.  Again, a path is chosen, again I was happy and again I NEVER regretted this choice. This new job required love, hugs, patience, the ability to teach, and to enjoy this new life.    I think I met these requirements…so the job was a great fit.

For those who follow my story, you know that our daughter, Elizabeth has special needs.

Elizabeth was born in 1997, it is that day that my path changed, oh, sure I was still a stay-at-home mom, but now the path was NOT the one I was on before she was born. No, the job had changed…it description had changed.  In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, we had to add so many more…ones we did not even know we really possessed.

I often think of all the requirements needed to raise typical children and then I add in the ones that only parents of special needs children would understand.

The following is the job description of a parent or caregiver of a special needs child

-Looking for a person capable of waking each morning to uncertainty but able to smile.

-Must possess the ability to multi-task-to do typical things in life while giving special attention to the child who has special needs.

-Must be able to divide time among all children-to praise each child for being “their” best.

-Must be able to not lose sight of the child(ren) who do not have special needs, because they need much attention and praise too!

-Must be able to keep an eye on the future but not lose sight of the joy of today.

– Has the ability to rejoice in any success of their special needs child-even if the success would seem to others as insignificant.

The interested person must have the strength to advocate for their special-needs child…in the schools and in life

– Must be able to stand up and either cheer the loudest for them, or speak up the loudest for them when they cannot do it themselves.

-To be on call 24/7

-To be able to learn much …from books, therapists and experiences as well as from the special needs child themselves

-To be able to know the road is long but to see the good in each day.

–To hug and love as much as possible

I know with COVID that the job requirements are more, tougher and no breaks are given.  I know I am very aware of just how much each day mirrors the day before and also how tired I can be from the work each day brings.

I also know that I can see that the work is rewarding in ways that cannot be measured.

If I posted this as a true want ad…I wonder how many takers there would be.  So many of us have this job…for those who do…please take a moment to know how great you are.

I think we may all just need to hear that!

I wish everyone a peace

Michele Gianetti

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