September 30, 2010
Guest Blogger Thursday
Through my Thursday posts I’d like to provide a more widespread forum for parents, family members, and practitioners of children with disabilities to provide practical tips for parents, as well as a place to share their views on raising a child with a disability. These contributions will be their ideas and stories, and not necessarily reflect the sentiments of those of autismmommytherapist
Today’s guest blogger is Mary Craig, welcome!
Bon Voyage, Miss Rachel!
Our son was just 19 months old when he was vaccination injured. It was shortly before our son was injured that a young angel blessed our lives; we call her Miss Rachel at our house. Back then my husband would often leave before our kids were awake in the morning and return after they had long been in bed. I’m not going to lie to you….I was overwhelmed and literally suffering from exhaustion due to insomnia. I felt like I needed to learn and research everything I could find and I lost a lot of sleep worrying about what the future would hold for my boy. Thankfully Miss Rachel arrived on the scene to give us all a break!!
It is scary when you have a Special Needs child who isn’t verbal when it’s time to go out for the evening and leave them with a babysitter. After our son became affected it took time before we left him with a babysitter. Autism tears families apart and our family promised each other to fight with all we had to not become part of the Autism divorce statistics. My husband changed jobs and began working from home which gave him more flexibility to spend time with his family. Things were falling into place so you can imagine how desperately we needed somebody like Miss Rachel in our lives!!
Rachel had great references and was CPR certified & had aced the babysitter course. We knew her mom who had been Megan’s mommy & me teacher so we were confident leaving the kids with her. We had our Occupational Therapist train her to do sensory diet types of things with our son. It’s always nerve-wracking to leave your kids with anybody new. We put our faith in Rachel and went out on a date. Rachel was wonderful!! We had a wonderful dinner out & Megan had her hair braided and both kids were in bed asleep. Yay! It’s so nerve-wracking when you have a Nonverbal Special Needs child because what if they can’t identify their needs, get sick or are afraid or just want mommy. Certainly our typical child can tell us what happens while we’re gone but sometimes you may need to leave just the Special Needs child with a sitter. “Miss Rachel” instantly had a connection with both of our kids and it was almost as though she understood our son’s cues & babbles as well as we did. He would instantly go right over to her when she arrived and rarely gave us a hard time about leaving.
Miss Rachel is a life saver! We’ve grown closer and more attached to her as each year has passed. We have enlisted her to help our family in our charity work which she did enthusiastically. She’s been there for family events, she’s helped wrap our Christmas gifts, and she’s helped us move and watched our beautiful children grow. We’ve had the pleasure of witnessing what a wonderful young woman she’s become as she learned to drive, taken her first job and graduated high school. We had hoped she would still be our sitter when she came home on breaks from college. We had visions of family vacations accompanied by Miss Rachel while home on break.
Alas, she applied for a job and she will now be calling Uncle Sam her employer. It’s with heavy hearts that our family will usher our “Miss Rachel” off to Naval Boot Camp this coming week. We certainly hope Uncle Sam understands what a wonderful, dedicated, caring new employee they’ve just gotten. Uncle Sam’s gain is certainly our family’s loss. Our Miss Rachel will always be a member of our family and we hope that if our favorite “sailor” is ever in a port nearby that she’ll be sure to visit often. Thank you Miss Rachel for loving our kids and helping us keep them safe & entertained. Thank you for taking the time to understand each of our kids’ “specialness” and embracing it. We love you like our own, Miss Rachel!!