Sometimes I feel like I can't find the courage I need. Most recently it's happened when my son, who has severe disabilities, left the school system at age 21.
At a time when most parenting 'gigs' are winding down, it feels like mine is ramping up, as I try to help him carve out a meaningful life. My son's disabilities, particularly his lack of speech and behaviour issues, make it hard for him to fit into a typical employment or school setting. We didn't get the funding we'd hoped for from the government, or the planning support we've been on the wait list for. And I didn't save for this time. As he grew up, I always felt we had to spare no expense in therapies and activities and products and camps that might promote his development as well as make him happy.
So we need to get creative ourselves. We'll be working with someone to help us develop a support network to bring people to the table who can help us figure out what a good life for our son would be, from activities or employment or volunteer work to friends.
It's not easy asking for help, as all parents of kids with disabilities understand. So I thought I would start this column called The courage project. Maybe we can encourage all of our readers to share situations where they feel lacking in courage. Perhaps I can tell our story as we go alone, and others can share their stories, and we can support each other.
The medals above are some of my Dad's, from WWII. He lay communication lines between the frontlines and headquarters through all of the major battles, and landed with the allies in Normandy on D Day plus 1. He was 19 at the start of the war and served for over six years.
I think I'm going to take one of his medals and put it on a chain and wear it.
Let me know if you'd like to share a story about parenting that calls for courage, particularly if you are struggling to find it.