This post was contributed by guest blogger Rochelle Gadson
So often when we hear the words let go, we find that this is the most difficult thing to do. Our insecurities kick in and we think of all the worst-case scenarios that could happen, but we don’t realize that we our doing more harm then good. Especially when the playing field seems one sided. Our goal as parents is to protect our kids and prevent them from all harm and danger, but is this really good? I know most of us learn our valuable lessons by some of the things we experience but for our kids we try to prevent this.
Our kids become our life, especially when they have disabilities. We start to plan and think about their future. We expect for them to be the greatest person that we will ever know. We set goals that make the imaginable possible – what seems to be impossible has now become achievable. Then, in a moment, things change and we dare not let go of them because we see them broken and we become a protector.
Should we not allow them to experience life? Should we not let them fall sometimes?
Well I think the first thing I should ask is, do we even realize that our kids still can do things no matter how small it may be? Do we realize that we still can have dreams for them?
I think the first thing we must understand is that a disability is not a dysfunction. As parents, we must be open to new ideas and allow our kids those moments of change. I had to learn how to back off and let Abby try those moments of change. I would get her ready for school because it was faster and much easier, but then I thought about what if one day I was not here. Then what will Abby do? Abby needs to be independent.
One day I asked Abby, “Are you special because you are in a wheelchair”? She thought long and then she said, “No, I am special because of who I am.” That was a good answer, because the disability does not speak for Abby even though it’s a part of her.
Having a child with a disability can be challenging, but we must let them experience the world they live in. We can’t tell them that they are like everybody else when in reality we have sheltered them so much until they can’t survive. Life can be a magical experience if we allow them to try and explore new things and to make mistakes, giving them the same guidelines like their peers, and not handing out passes at every roadblock.
I learn so much from my daughter, Abby. One day she decided that she wanted to play the cello. I must admit that I was afraid. I thought of how her peers would look at her, or wondered if she would keep up with her peers. You see, my daughter, Abby, is in a wheelchair. The teacher thought that playing a violin would be better because she would remain in her wheelchair and that was more convenient for her (meaning the teacher). The cello had to be placed in an upright position and had to be rested in front of her legs. But Abby said no, she wanted to play the cello, so I decided to let her make that choice. I have learned to let go and to allow her to make her choices realizing that she must create her own voice and start planning for her future.
Author Bio: Rochelle is a native of Nassau, Bahamas. She has lived in South Carolina for 13 years. She is a mother of three daughters and one son and will be celebrating 14 years of marriage to Solomon Gadson. She believes that life is not based on our accomplishments but on the lives we touch – that we are given journeys in life and some are good and some not but how we deal with them will determine our outcome.