A former Facebook gamer "friend" posted something on her status update a couple weeks ago that struck me viscerally. She put something in her status update that said, and I paraphrase, "You never get the children you want, you only get the children you deserve." She made that statement in conjunction with a series of posts about the shootings in CT and posts about people struggling with children with special needs (her kids are "perfect" according to her.) Her take was if your child isn't perfect, it's because you are being punished by God.
Oh yeah. That made me angry.
Children are not a punishment, they are a gift! Sure, our lives are just about equal with stress and joy, but there is a balance. I embrace those moments of joy because they help me through the stressful times. We all make mistakes and there are many who fail horribly with parenting. But I have seen kids from the most broken of homes rise above their damaged upbringing and become amazing adults (with not even a little thanks to their Mom and Dad. So what did THOSE parents do to deserve such gems? Hmm?)
I had some carefully worded comments for this mother. I trend toward the snarky side, so I have to throttle back on the sarcasm to make my message crystal clear. For myself and any other parent with a child who has special needs...God isn't punishing us. Instead, we have been entrusted with the greatest gift of all. A child who needs extra love, guidance, attention and effort. If we complete this life-long challenge, the rewards will not just be a well adjusted, self-sufficient and confident adult but the knowledge that we embraced our gifts and discovered that unconditional love is its own reward.
My kids know they don't have to be perfect, rich or successful. All I want is for them to be happy. (and no, Max. Happy doesn't mean I'm buying you more toys. ;)