The Rewards of Parenting

Yesterday my father in law reached out over text message to see how we were doing.

It has been an unusually busy and chaotic time for our family and he was just checking in. 

I told him we were doing Ok, hanging in there at least.

He responded with empathy stating he remembers how hard it is parenting three small children and having zero energy left at the end of the day to do anything for yourself. 

He went on to say “You sort of put your life on hold, or at least on the back burner, when your kids are young. Kids help you articulate what love is. I have always said that love is the sacrificial giving of someone’s time, energy, and resources for the benefit of someone else without regard for repayment or reward.”

Wow! That one loaded statement brought up a lot of emotions for me personally.

As special needs parents we all pour so much time and energy into helping our kids learn, grow, and succeed, never looking for a “reward” or even recognition.

But when I sit in my room late at night after a long day I realize there are countless rewards in this special needs parenting journey….

When my daughter graduated from Pre-K, having mastered countless skills, and was classified as “Kindergarten Ready” that was incredibly rewarding for me.

When she mastered 100 intelligible words after years of speech therapy.

When she started Kindergarten and no longer needed an IEP.

When she played in her first soccer game.

When she helped teach her younger brother how to ride a tricycle.

When she held her newborn brother for the first time and sang him a lullaby.

When she started ballet and tap and was one of the only kids who made it through the class without any prompts or redirection.

When she attended her first birthday party and I saw how many school friends she has made.

When we filled out her Star Student of the Week Award and she did all the writing on her own.

When she learned to read sight words, or as her school calls them popcorn words,” and I saw that light bulb turn on when it comes to reading.

When she walks in the door from school and can’t wait to show me her latest art project, usually including a rainbow drawing of our family.

When she joined an after school club and is constantly telling us facts about nature and recycling over dinner.

When I tuck her in every night and she says “I love you Mommy! I hope you sleep well too.”

For me these are the incredible rewards of parenting that I choose to focus on and celebrate. 

Even on the hardest days I need to make a conscious effort to choose to see the beautiful rewards and not let the daily stress of parenting get in the way.

Written by, Caitlyn Viviano

Caitlyn is a military wife and mother of three. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, daughter Chloe, and sons Daniel and Levi. She is a former counselor turned SAHM who enjoys blogging at www.sassyonthespectrum.com/CV, reading, and drinking lots of coffee.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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