Back to teaching NAMI’s wonderful course, Family-to-Family. As always, the love and confusion, the bravery and frustrations of these families amaze me.
Yesterday I taught an acting class; one student, wheelchair-bound, was accompanied by his father who took notes, gave physical aid and emotional support. Parents who are “awarded” the responsibility of a child with a disability, whether physical or mental, face many of the same challenges. These parents will not be able to look ahead to the day when their child is totally independent. There is no clearly defined light at the end of any parenting tunnel …but when your child is disabled, that light is dimmed even more.
Still, the love is evident.
My child, who is 27, can at least walk by himself; he can, when balanced by his treatment, do many things without me. Sure, we still drive him to saxophone lessons, supplement his meager income, take him grocery shopping. He may never be totally on his own. But there is much to be grateful for.
A terrific novel, exploring the family role when there is disability, is Jodi Picoult’s Handle with Care. Love is complex, unpredictable, immenseley valuable, and not always easy.