Many years ago, when my son wanted me to carry him, he would say, “Carry you?” and nothing more. It was such a simple phrase yet little did I know the impact it would have so many years later.
Today, after speaking with several parents whose children are really struggling, those two little words came to me as if my son had said them yesterday. I’m not sure what triggered that memory, but it suddenly resonated with me differently. As parents, we all carry our children yet it typically ends when they are either too heavy or too large to lift. Not for parents of children with special needs. The carrying continues for years and sometimes, for a lifetime.
These parents have the job of lifting their children and keeping them hoisted high above their heads at all costs. And while their children need their strength to move forward, who lifts the parents? Even the strongest parents find that sometimes, the weight is just too much.
As is the case with so many parents, one of them is completely exhausted…no fried, from months and months of endless struggle. With school. With family. And yes, with their child as well. From home to school and back again, the issues have continued mounting with little chance to catch a breath no less take a shower. And this is on top of a full-time job that was asking for more yet giving less.
During our conversation, I told this parent that their job was to “carry you” — meaning their child — but that they also needed to be carried. By a spouse, a parent, a friend — by anyone able and willing to lift them, even briefly, so they can regain their strength to continue their march ahead. Many parents never ask to be carried and many fail to notice that these parents are going down for the count. Yet when we’re talking about the parent of a 2nd grade child with autism or a 15-year-old with a learning disability, carrying is what it’s really all about.
So if your life is touched by a parent who is struggling to carry it all, a little lift will help enormously. They will continue to “carry you” (meaning their child), yet carrying them … even for a brief time, will help them continue to put one foot in front of the other while lifting their child into the future.