By Michelle Goos (Victoria, B.C.)
As a parent with a disability that has a daughter that has a disability, you see your child grow and you grow fonder of them. As a parent, you can look through their eyes at a whole new world. You see things differently; you see new things and all things in a different light as your child sees it. They learn from you because we teach them and they reach for us when they are small. When they are small they wanted to cuddle and as they grow they go to school.
As a child grows they learn, they get bullied, they have some good friends, they join some groups, and try new things. They learn to swim on family trips and they feel good about themselves. As a child becomes a teenager they see in a different light, they dress different, they are still trying different things, and they still get bullied.
They don’t know what they want to do when they grow up, they still think life is fun, so they graduate, they get a job, go to college and now they are at an age where it’s hard for parents to let go. It becomes hard to let them try life on their own and to stop reminding them what they need to do, like clean their room, do their laundry, make appointments for doctors, pay their bills, and make sure they get their PWD paperwork done. But it’s sometimes hard for us to let go. They think of us as nagging, but we love them so much. All we want is to protect them from the life out there and to keep them hidden from the bad world. But they need to learn that they can do it, like ordering a cab; paying a bill; being part of groups and hopefully not getting kicked out of groups; having chances to travel the world; having a dream job or being happy at the job they have; and having relationships of love in their life.
It’s a challenge for me to let go. They are ready, but I’m not ready to let them go out into the world of new technology and sometimes unsafe technology. Not knowing where she is and what she’s doing. Not knowing if she is she safe. This is a learning process for both of us. We’ll be there when she needs us and help her when she’s in a tough spot. But she needs to learn to flap her wings and be able to fly in her own way within her world, knowing that we still love her and support her in what she does. Maybe we’re not happy at all with her choices but it’s what she wants.
Some of us are moms and dads, some of us are going to be moms and dads just remember to love your little one. The time will come where you will have to let them fly on their own. But we can make it through it together. It will be hard on a personal level, but if I can do it, you can do it too. Just remember you have come this far and with great support, everything will be fine.
Let’s not be so hard on the next generation and let us support them. We need to show our daughters they have a voice as strong a boy’s and to teach our daughter’s to use their voices to be heard.