Please indulge me for a moment as I tell you a story. But first, a little about me.
I am a special needs mom. My ten year-old is on the autism spectrum. My eight year-old is above his peers in some areas. Needless to say, that mix makes things interesting around here in our small apartment. We are a one-car family and my husband works forty-five minutes away. This translates into I usually don’t have a car during the week.
Now for my story. One Sunday I was working in the special needs room at church. Another mom and I were talking about the upcoming VBS. I was remarking how I was glad we’d be able to have the special needs room open so the moms could get a little break. After a little chatting, the other mom said to me, “Jenny, when do you get a break?”
Her words stopped me in my tracks. I paused. Had I been more hormonal, I probably would have fallen apart. This was a good day so I just kind of looked at her and said, “Not very often.”
I went on to explain that I remember what life was like when my boys were younger. I was happy to work in the special needs room, to help these families. I told her my struggles are different now. That differing sensory needs are my nemesis Little brother likes to make noise and hum and drum as big brother yells, “Stop it. Stop it. STOP IT!” Now my big challenge is trying to get my oldest to explain himself instead of hiding and physically moving away when questioned.
She listened the whole time.
Then she said, “Let me know when you need a break.”
I was so touched by her offer. So touched, in fact, that later I sent her a message, thanking her and telling her that her kindness made me think of a new book my friend wrote, Rocking Ordinary. And do you know what she said back?
“I was thinking about it. I have some ideas. I could help you in this way or that way.” She offered suggestions! I was blown away.
In Rocking Ordinary, author Lea Ann Garfias strives to show women how they can make an extraordinary difference in their everyday life. Women often feel like they are in a never-ending circle of the mundane. Lea Ann points out that when we take the time to reach out to others we, among other things, are rocking ordinary. We are making a difference. We change the world.
Now, the rest of the world doesn’t know what this mom did for me. They may not even care. But she rocked my ordinary life. She offered a listening ear. She offered respite and compassion. She gave practical ideas that were feasible for my family.
You can rock ordinary, too. If you’re looking to help a special needs mom you know, you could choose one of these thirty ways to help a special needs family. Most of them don’t cost much at all.
You don’t have to help a special needs mom to be rocking ordinary. Simply smile at someone. Reach out and ask how you can help. Say, “I’m praying for you.”
I honestly don’t think I’ll ever forget this fellow mom’s kindness to me that day. That’s how much of an impact her words made on me. I challenge you to think of a way to do the same. Find some small way to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Leave a comment and tell me your idea!
Jenny Herman wants to live in a world where dark chocolate dispensers reside on every corner. As a homeschooling special needs mom, she’s been featured in Autism Parenting Magazine, Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids: Mostly True Stories of Life on the Spectrum, and various blogs. If she survives the onslaught of testosterone in her home, she may take a moment to blog, read a book, try a new recipe, or loom knit a gift. You can find Jenny’s book The Power of One: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life Amazon. Discover her tips for special needs parenting, hands-on homeschooling, and pressing on at jennyherman.com.