When I worked as a cashier as a teenager in high school I noticed something annoying. If there was no price tag on an item ultimately the customer would say, “It’s FREE!” The customer would then laugh at the joke, like no one had ever thought to say that before. Well I am here to tell you, EVERYONE said it!
In my world raising a son with severe special needs there is a question I get that is similar to the “It’s FREE!” comment. It is the question that starts with, “Have you tried…” I understand that people who ask this question are well meaning, but believe me when I say people in my position TRY EVERYTHING to help our child.
When Marston was having eating issues: “Have you tried giving him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? My daughter used to love those!” (Oh wow, PB&J! What a good idea… TRIED IT!)
When he would wake up all night long making crazy noises: “Have you tried giving him lots of fresh air and exercise during the day so he’s tired at night?” (Whoa! Never thought of that…TRIED IT!)
You get my point. Please know that I recognize that people truly are just trying to help and be kind. And I have never really yelled, “TRIED IT!” in anyone’s face. But I do want people to know this, parents that raise kids with special needs try everything to help our children. Sometimes things that you cannot even fathom. Not to burst your helpful bubble, but chances are, we have already tried it. Support, love, and lots of laughter are what we need most to help us continue this journey.
If you are a parent of a kiddo with special needs I’d love to hear a “Have you tried…” story in the comments.