Truly understanding you are not alone is an important revelation.
Some days you may find yourself angry, exhausted, and frustrated, but recognizing you are not the first person to raise an outside-of-the-box child will give you the much-needed hope and strength to fuel the long journey ahead. There are others and their wisdom is priceless!
Life is all about perspective. Accept the challenges you are bound to encounter and conquer them. Raising a child is hard...period. At the core, your outside-of-the-box child is just that: a child. As a parent, your job is to do your best to encourage them, provide for them, and ensure their needs are met. Ultimately, we all want to see our children be successful, independent, contributing members of society. Though there are circumstances where that may not be possible, each and every child is a wonderful gift who has been placed on this earth to fulfill their purpose. We must be patient. Only time will reveal what that purpose is.
Though it is likely you will experience challenges most of your friends will be unable to relate to, you'll be more compassionate, empathetic, and patient because of it. You will celebrate milestones others may take for granted. You will become a strong leader in your community. You will show others how to overcome and persevere. You will be the epitome of strength and courage.
Sure, you will have days where you doubt every decision you make. You'll question the parenting choices you made and wonder if this is all your fault. You'll wish your life could just be easy for one damn day. You'll want to throw in the towel, scream, shout, or cry. It's all perfectly normal.
After all, there are few people who can muster the strength to slay every day.
But you. You, dear parent of an outside-of-the-box-child, you are a gift. You give it your best each and every day and you never give up. You're likely a living, breathing resource guide: special diets, therapies, medical specialists, mental health clinicians, medications, support groups, educational accommodations, behavioral supports...you've got it down.
You're a superhero. You flex your muscles and utilize your superpowers every single day. You do your best to ward off the bad guys (unexpected changes in routine, foods that are the wrong color, clothes that feel awful, avoiding the horrible noise...) and you do it with grace.
It's okay to to curl up in your room and cry. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to worry about the future and wonder how this will all turn out. It's okay to not be a pillar of strength every moment of every day.
Take your moment. Let it out and carry on. You really are amazing, but you don't have to go at it alone.
It is so, so important to take the time to seek out resources...books, blogs, and encouraging websites. Let those words soak into and fill your soul. Find a support group, either in person or online. Connect with others in your community. Put yourself out there and embrace the new relationships you develop. Go outside your comfort zone. You never know who you will meet or what experience will positively impact your life.
It takes a village. If you haven't begun to build yours yet, now is the time.
You've got this! One moment, one day at a time.
You are not alone.
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