Parenting a child with special needs is so much more than helicopter parenting. It is never taking your shoes off, being ready to run, casing every room, knowing every exit and danger, being drenched in sweat, never sitting, searching your child’s body for marks or bruises, up all night worrying, parenting. It consumes me at times. And deep down I worry that it is destroying me.
It’s not like it happened overnight. It was an evolution. I am a pretty chill person. My kids fall and I wait for the severity of the scream and their reaction before I dive into mom mode. I believe in walking it off. Letting kids fall of bikes. Leaving a little skin on the field.
That’s the person I am…or was…or trying to be with my 4 year old. But as much as I wish I could just relax and sit back and watch Cooper play I know in my heart it isn’t possible. He is constantly in danger.
I am an autism mom. I am caring for the most vulnerable of children. I am his eyes, ears, brains. I am one step ahead of him at all times.
And because of it I am slowly driving myself bonkers.
My worry never stops. At any given time I can tell you all the given dangers in a room. I know when Cooper has something in his mouth. I know when he is going to run. I know where he is going to dart to. I count the exits. I know every item that can be thrown. My shoes are laced up. I am in comfortable clothing. And I am ready to chase my kid if needed.
Trying to describe the emotional weight of caring for an extremely vulnerable child is impossible…but here is my attempt.