Essays, parenting

Virtues For A Special Needs Parent: Part 4

The final installation on this series is on Mirth and Reverence. For me, these two have always been the easiest to tie back to that idea that “all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals” – it’s easy to see mirth and reverence fitting in with love and pleasure, easier for me than some of the other pairs in the charge.

Mirth is a refuge for many special needs families – especially when we’re together with other special needs folks. Who else gets the humor (ok, gallows humor, but we have to laugh about this stuff or cry) in things like feeding the midnight feeding to the bed for the third time this week? The amusement value in having a kid who tells off the therapist because he doesn’t like her only really comes out when you realize that Acorn is non-verbal and rarely signs, and the therapist didn’t know signs….but everyone else in the room knew what he said, and tried not to laugh until the therapist was gone. But the drama of having therapists, and trying to get kids and therapists to work well together is harder to explain to people who haven’t been there.

Reverence, too, is part of this life. While we try to laugh at things….there are things that we just simply must take seriously. People we have to respect. And that’s what reverence is all about – profound respect, awe, worshipfulness. There’s reverence in our hearts for the little everyday miracles – in watching a child who once gagged at anything in his mouth devouring tomatoes, in hearing your child cry after months of silence, in a child’s smile first thing in the morning. There’s reverence in our thanks to the Gods for things gone right, and in our pleas to Them for things gone wrong.

It’s also important to remember that while mirth and reverence are sometimes seen as opposites, they don’t have to be – they’re linked, and sometimes the most reverent thing to do is laugh. All acts of love and pleasure are her rituals, and laughing is a lot of fun, right?

So, go, enjoy your kids, and find something to laugh about today.

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