Parents of special-needs children are familiar with the word sacrifice. They make many sacrifices, especially with regards to work and career choice. Often it is challenging to work any job, full time or part time, depending on the severity of their child’s disability.
One of our friends, who is a parent of a child with autism, has shared with us that every Monday is a struggle for him because he must be home from work in time to get his adult son off his day program van. This friend found it necessary to change his career path from working a nine-to-five corporate job that involved travel, late nights and working weekends to becoming a school teacher. Working as a teacher gave him a set schedule and working hours that coincided with his son’s schedule except on Monday, the day he has to stay after school for a faculty meeting. Having to be home to greet his son’s transportation van really has impacted his family.
His other son has helped out and also made a sacrifice when he told his employer: “I can’t work Monday afternoons.” His son makes up those hours by working every Saturday morning, and on Monday afternoons he helps out his family by greeting his brother’s transportation van.
Being a special needs parent surely impact a family’s dynamics! Our family’s sacrifice involved Mercedes working at a lower level of responsibility than she was qualified for and at far less pay. Many special-needs families have learned to live on less income than their credentials and education should warrant.
These kinds of stresses are ongoing. While your family adapts and makes do with this “new normal,” the prolonged effect of stress can wear on you. It can lead you to a greater faith, but also your faith can be sorely tested.
So when Monday afternoon comes around again, consider saying a silent prayer on behalf of all those who are making tough but loving sacrifices for their families.
Copyright 2017 David and Mercedes Rizzo