|Date:||November 11, 2016—November 12, 2016|
|More Info:||Click here for more information.|
For most people, summer break with their children is a time to head to the pool, take big family vacations, play with other children in the neighborhood, or sleep in. It takes on an entirely different form when you’re parenting children from traumatic pasts, or with major special needs.
I flip through my Instagram early in the morning before everyone’s awake. I can’t help but feel jealous of the pictures I see. One after another it seems. Perfect families, gearing up for perfect summers, with their perfect children. Yes, I know they’re not “perfect.” Everyone has their flaws. Everyone has their shortcomings. But from my vantage point, and the uphill climb I have every day, everybody else’s situation around me looks….perfect.
We are excited to share that Mike will be speaking at the 2017 Hope Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, March 10-11, 2017. Click here to learn about this event!
When you’re the parent of a child with mental illness, you understand dark places, and you find encouragement from the most unlikely people, in the most unlikely places. Strangers become friends, acquaintances become brothers and sisters, wounded parents on the same road as you, become comrades.
I hear the cold click as the steel door latches behind me. My hand slips into my pocket. I don’t need the key yet but I pull it out anyway. I begin twirling it between my thumb and forefinger. I notice the woman in front of me.
The elevator is taking an unreasonably long time to travel between the floors. It gives me time to really look at her. She is nicely dressed and pretty. Her dainty ballet flats compliment her tall lean frame. She has on delicate silver hoop earrings that accent her neatly straightened hair. Under different circumstances, I might be a little envious.
Parenting is one of the hardest things a human being will ever do. In a fast-paced, noisy world, it’s easy to lose our way. How do you get back on track as a parent when you discover you’ve gotten off course?
We travel a lot. In fact, lately it seems we’re in a different city every other week. We love it, and wouldn’t trade it, but the flight portion of our travel becomes routine. Sometimes we just put ourselves in cruise control en route to a speaking engagement because we’re so used to flying. The other day, however, I happened to have my earbuds out when the flight attendant walked down the aisle to demonstrate the safety features of the aircraft.
If we had a dollar for every time someone said, “Well, he doesn’t look like he has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,” we’d be millionaires. The truth is, our child’s disorder makes it hard to see the forest for the trees.
I remember the first time my son stepped up to the plate the first year he played baseball. He held his bat like a pro. He not only looked like a miniature major league player, he acted and performed like one. With one swing, he sent a fastball up the middle of the diamond, straight into center field. When the center fielder bobbled the ball, my son had the wits about him to chug ahead, safely into second base. The crowd of parents, including us, went wild. One father turned to me and said, “You got yourself one heck of a ball player there!”