You Don’t have to be Perfect

Writer’s Note: this post talks freely about my Christian faith, of which I am proud. I understand that you might not share my faith, so please don’t take this as a ‘call’ to evangelize. This is, instead, a hard look at what being a special needs parent does deep inside, when we can’t let go of the mistakes we’ve made in life.  –Katrina

Kat's Curiosity - A Look at FaithFaith in Our Parenting

This isn’t a kind of faith that comes easy when you have kids with special needs.

Our worlds are filled with so many doubts and what-ifs already, that in the face of a new diagnosis, or even an older one, we sometimes feel like we made too many mistakes. We hurt, deep inside, because of pain we inflict on ourselves.

I’m not a therapist; I’m just a mom. While it’s hard to sometimes step above the ease of self-recrimination, it has to happen to move forward, to be the strong parent your kids need. One of the hardest things I had to do as I made peace with one diagnosis or another over the years was remind myself that  I am not perfect. I am only human. I will try my hardest, fight with passion and vigor for these very unique little guys. But sometimes I will make mistakes along the way.

  • Sometimes I will yell after a long day and one too many questions.
  • Sometimes I will look away instead of engage my child in the world around them, especially when my repeated efforts don’t always show the results I want, or I need.
  • Sometimes I will feel overwhelmed. Frightened.
  • Occasionally, I will feel my kids don’t need me, that I am not good enough or wise enough to be what they need.
  • Sometimes I will cry. And I will break.

I should stress, this is an ongoing process. Becoming a special needs parent is one of the few things that occurs in one split second, forever changes who you are as a person and who you will become, and takes a lifetime to master.

Not always, but sometimes, I resent God. Usually I am in awe of these little boys and so grateful to have them with me, to have been entrusted to raise and protect them.

Sometimes, in the dead of night after a day filled with one too many seizures, when one of my guys questions this world of strangers who would rather ignore them than interact with them, or when the next diagnosis is one too many.

Sometimes, I am overwhelmed. I am shamed. Guilty. Convinced that feeling this way somehow mitigates the years I have spent championing for these guys, facing those seizures, giving my youngest CPR, or otherwise being there for them.

It doesn’t.

But I’m human. I make mistakes and I misunderstand and I feel–in a world better suited to someone who isn’t already a little bruised from a life well-lived.

In these moment, I turn to my faith. Not in myself, because I will never be perfect, or good enough. I will always find fault with myself and my parenting. My faith, instead comes from my deeper faith, the relationship I have with God. I realize that this is the moment I lose some of you. You don’t believe in God. He let you down. He let this happen.

What strengthens me–because I think the same thoughts sometimes–but what strengthens me, is that His shoulders are broad enough to be weighed down with my pain, my anger, my lack of faith, even. I’m not asking you to share my faith. I understand this is beyond many of you, either because of the weight of living or for other, perhaps more personal, reasons.

But this is a post about me. And sometimes, I need to remind myself why I have the faith I do. Why my faith has been my constant companion during the valleys, and during the celebrations. I won’t ask you to share my faith, but I hope you would understand what it means to me.

One of my favorite new bands, Tenth Avenue North, released a song recently called You Are More and I consider, as I listen, that the lists of all the mistakes people have made is populated by all the mistakes I have made, real and imagined. I invite you to share the video with me, since they have offered it freely on YouTube.

Take a moment for yourself today, and remind yourself, that you are more than the total of your past mistakes. Share my faith or don’t, but please don’t stay steeped in a past you can’t change.



Filed under Celebrations, Family, Parenting, Questioning, Special Needs

2 responses to “You Don’t have to be Perfect

  1. I can relate to your story. I don’t face the challenges that you do but I find myself overwhelmed with life at times like so many others. I find that they days I find myself “too busy” to acknowledge my dependance on God, I have no grace or patience. Thank you for your honesty. I think in that place we help ourselves and others.
    Btw..thank you for visiting my blog. The next time you come to Chicago, if you can, take time to enjoy the sites. There is so much to do.

    • Thanks for your comment. It’s amazing how easy is it to feel overwhelmed sometimes! RE Chicago: I can’t wait to go back and maybe pick something local to enjoy while I’m there!

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