Thursday, October 4, 2012

Am I a special needs parent?

Jonah (at home) with his son Nash
By Jonah Rhodes

With Nash being in the hospital in Dallas, two and half hours from where we live, I find myself with a lot of time to think while making my weekly commute to spend the weekend with him and Melissa. It was during my drive last week that I  asked myself this question, "Am I a special needs parent?". 

I think for most parents this would be a dreadful question, one they'd never be willing ask and wouldn’t ever want to hear the answer "Yes" to. Well I guess that's where I differ from most. I find it an honor to have been chosen for this task. Yes, I understand Nash doesn't seem like a special needs kid, but that doesn't take away from his need for special care. I don't mean to offend anyone who thinks I’m taking it lightly or would say Nash isn’t a true special needs child. The fact is, he will need lots of extra care for a good bit of time. While the doctors have said he will grow out of most of his current problems, that doesn't take away from the time and attention that goes into his daily care.  The thought of having a baby with a Trach or a baby who will have to be on a ventilator for awhile would have scared me to death six months ago.  Instead, it has become second nature, and I am finding out that the only thing special about a kid with ‘special needs’ is no matter what kind of need the child has, it isn't the need that makes them special it's the joy they bring into your life that makes them special. 

I need Nash far more than he will ever need me in life. He has brought a new purpose and a level of compassion I have never known.  I have been blessed to be chosen to have the honor of helping Nash get over this little hill. In the beginning what seemed like a mountain that couldn't be conquered is, in fact, just a small bump in the road. I'm here to tell you that indeed, all things are possible through Christ. I know there will be some hard days ahead and lots of care for him that will be left up to me and Melissa once he comes home, but the joy that Nash brings me is the strength that fuels my desire to be the very best dad and caretaker I can be for him. Seeing him smile is all the reward I ever need.  So I leave you with this poem that was posted on the Poppa’s for Preemies page. This poem expresses just how I feel about Nash.

I Still Would Have Chosen You
~By Terri Banish
If before you were born, I could have gone to Heaven and saw all the beautiful souls, I still would have chosen you... 
If God had told me, "This soul would one day need extra care and needs", I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me, "This soul may make your heart bleed", I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me, "This soul would make you question the depth of your faith", I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me, "This soul would make tears flow from your eyes that could fill a river", I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me, "This soul may one day make you witness overbearing suffering", I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me, "All that you know to be normal would drastically change", I still would have chosen you.
Of course, even though I would have chosen you, I know it was God who chose me for you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Jonah for this beautiful post. I can relate to so much of it. Your words are what drive me to want to help others as they deal with the aftermath of a NICU stay. While my wife was pregnant we read the children's book "Corduroy". Our message was clear, "no matter if Owen was born without a "button" or not we were always going to love him".