As I was waiting for Michael to come home from an outing with his friends, I was looking out the front window and watching the snow fall. It was after 11:30 at night, so it was dark out and the street lights made a nice glow in addition to our Christmas lights.

It really was quite pretty.

And as I had my face close to the window, I started thinking about the little bit of glass that separates me from the cold, but pretty, cold night and that even if the glass itself is thin and could be considered a tiny barrier, it did a good job of defining the two spaces. Outside from inside.

This little bit of separation made me think about Elizabeth and her life. And well, the lives of all our children who have special needs.

No matter how close we get to their world, no matter how close we get to THEM, we can really never be fully be in the world they survive, thrive and work in. I can THINK I understand Elizabeth. I can THINK I get how hard it must be to function with her global dyspraxia but in truth, I can but NOT completely.

I can get close. I can see the struggles and celebrate the successes but I CANNOT get into her world because there is a barrier thin as air but there.

I know this can really be said for anyone. Perhaps a friend who is going through a tough situation or a relative who is ill. You can BE there, but cannot bridge that distance to truly be IN their world. What we can and do do offer support and love.

I know that so many of us have worked quite hard for our special needs children/ young adults and have used the same words I have. Words like: I understand what my child has and how to help them. And for the most part that is true but only to a certain point and the rest is that our beautiful children are truly the only ones who know what it is like to wake up, put their feet on the floor, start a day and begin the work of the day with whatever challenge, disorder or diagnosis they have.

And they get up and do this everyday

And they work hard for things that others simply do not have to.

I watched Elizabeth work so hard at trying to count money this morning. Now we have, of course, worked on this prior but the skill has gotten rusty and we needed to review it. So I thought a quick review would be a nice fun thing. Flash to an hour plus later when we had downloaded 3 apps on the Kindle, struggled to make our way through the first stages of money counting and I watched her frustration grow.

I was sitting RIGHT next to her, peering over at the Kindle screen and I could feel her anxiety and encouraged her but I CANNOT, simple CANNOT be in her world as she is trying so hard.

I think there are times when I look at the world we live in, all that is swirling around us, all the crazy we live in and then I look at my Elizabeth….the same way I am sure you look at your child with special needs, and think through all the crazy, the continue to work so hard to do their days.

I am really in awe of them and just wanted to share some thoughts that washed over me this week.

It has been an emotional week for me for many reasons and this is one made me want to share this blog.

I know we tell Elizabeth that we are proud of her many times a day and that she is loved so so much but this week, I think I told her extra times because the work she does each day to simply succeed in the day, as do all the others with special needs, needs to noticed.

I wish everyone a peaceful week and as always..please wear a mask and get vaccinated!

Michele Gianetti author of I Believe In You