How do you thank someone who has given you and your child everything? This is what I thought as I drove to my son’s very last session with his Physical Therapist. (He will be transitioning into the school age world and begin with a new PT and OT in September).
Like many kid’s diagnosed with SPD my son is big on following the plan so we had discussed and “planned” his goodbyes. As his therapist got out of her car my son bounced towards her from the edge of the playground where we had planned to meet for Physical Therapy. With a smile from ear to ear he handed her the thank you card he had carefully selected a few days before. He then blurted out “I love you” and jumped about with sheer joy as she opened her card and looked over the gift card he had chosen for her from his favorite doughnut shop. With a smile rivaled only by his she thanked both of us telling my son how nice it made her feel. After a quick picture of the two of them together the session went on as usual.
Maybe I was caught up in all the emotion of their exchange or just feeling the weight of the uncertainty that lies ahead, but I almost cried watching them interact. She has always had a way of making my son feel like a million dollars, while at the same time gently prodding him into trying things he would never do for just about anyone else. Watching them together is like magic.
When the session was over she and my son exchanged one last high-five, and she and I hugged goodbye. Again, it could be that I was wrapped up in the moment, but she seemed to jump into her car and drive away with the speed of someone about to cry. I know I got into my van made sure my son was buckled into his booster seat and promptly began to sob. I had not expected this to happen. As I drove away wondering what is wrong with me I realized why I was so upset. Not only had this woman changed my son’s life forever she had also changed mine. She had become my ally and dare I say friend.
Parenting a “sensational child” is rewarding and challenging. As a result of our children’s difficulties we sometimes feel removed from the rest of the world. If we are lucky though we have met at least one person outside of our little circle who understands and supports us and our child(ren). What I should have said to my son’s Physical Therapist before we parted ways is…
- Thank you for truly getting to know my son, for treating him with respect, and for gently pushing him so he could continue to grow and develop new skills.
- Thank you for really listening to me and for seeing that I only wanted what was best for my son.
- Thank you for encouraging me to take my son to a developmental pediatrician.
- Thank you for speaking up for my son and always staying strong despite the opposition.
- Thank you for taking time out of your days and nights to respond to my calls, texts, and e-mails. To answer my questions, provide advice, and reassure me. Not just anyone would take the initiative to look up things like where to find a water bottle with a sippy spout cool enough for a five year old.
- Most of all thank you for being a hero to both my son and me. Because of you our lives are better.
If there is someone who has touched your world like my son’s Physical Therapist touched ours, I challenge you to tell them all they have done.