I Want a New Drug
Guest Blogger: Lee
Remember the Huey Lewis song from the 80’s? Well, now that I have you singing it in your head or you are back from googling it because you are too young to remember, let me profess I am with Huey on this one.
My drug of choice happens to have a name. It is not very well used, and certainly not prescribed by many doctors. In fact the only place I seem to find it is in community with other parents who have kids with special needs. It is called, “validation”. I am addicted.
I would spend large amounts of money, plenty of time and energy, almost anything for my next hit. It gets me though the day, and helps me sleep at night. I only wish I could find a way to put it in my coffee.
You see, so often with my kids, when I dare to answer honestly about how I am, how my day is or anything of that sort, I get answers like, “Keep your chin up!”, or “God won’t give you more than you can handle!”, or “Kick that bad attitude to the curb.”, and don’t forget to insert the patronizing smile! These reactions not only sting, but keep me from sharing about my life. My life is complicated, and often downright hard. I have two boys with Down syndrome. Alex is the “easy” one of the two, but somehow, my easy kid is the biggest handful of 30 kids on his Special Olympics swim team. Then there is Ben. Not only does he have Down syndrome, but is hearing impaired, has Hirschsrung’s Disease, severe gastric reflux, AND leukemia. The leukemia weakens his immune system so that even minor ailments can take hold and take over. I also have a 13 year old daughter, and a 21 year old niece who I raised from the age of 13.
My hands are full, and honestly I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Yet, I often feel so misunderstood and frustrated. That is why, when someone comes along who listens, really listens, is slow to answer, and gentle with words, I feel high as a kite when I speak to them. I don’t need to be told I am a saint, don’t need to be admired or patted on the back. I do this because it is what I am made to do. I just need that hit of validation to get me though sometimes.
And if you do happen to have a pat response, I hope you have good reflexes, you may need to duck, like fast.