“I have become a stronger parent.”

I remember when my son was first diagnosed with Chromosome Ring 18 at two months of age.  I (and my husband) was terrified!  The only words that kept running through my mind were that of all the degrees of the unknown: mental retardation, heart anomalies, kidney failure, blindness, deafness, low muscle tone, microcephaly, and the worst: failure to thrive.  I felt as though I was alone on a deserted island. Not one friend or relative could even come close to imaging the fear of the unknown that I felt. No words could comfort me.  I was so terrified that my little beautiful baby would never know love.

I remember picking up a P2P pamphlet one early evening that my FRC had given me.  It seemed like the only promising thing I had read in the weeks of reading Doctor’s notes and talking to people who really didn’t know of my son’s rare anomaly.  I had cried so hard for two weeks straight that I felt like a zombie when Michelle answered the phone.  And then again, I felt those tears rushing back.  I explained to her my situation, and she replied back to all my comments and her story with three undercurrents in her voice: strength, humility and courage.  I knew then that there was SOMEONE out there who could relate, and suddenly I realized that I was now in a whole new “club” of life, and that I could actually become like her with that same strength.  I could get through this, and raise my son just fine!

To fast forward…my son is almost three now and is a tremendous gift to our family! He has enriched our souls more than I could ever explain. I have still had my fears, and I am grateful that there are other families out there going through raising children with varying degrees of special needs. I have learned something from them all. I probably would not have met most of these people if it were not for our local Parent 2 Parent meetings. I communicate with some of these families outside our varying activities, and am meeting new ones all the time. Without these people, I may have fallen into a pit of helplessness. Now, whenever I feel a “wave” of worry about what my son will face to come, and things seem a little overwhelming, I reach for the phone and talk to one of them, and it always helps to bring me back to a “can do” attitude. Kipp (my son) has overcome so many obstacles that were the “unknowns.”  Like any child, but maybe a little more so, we will always have to assist him with his own individual needs that will help him flourish and grow. I believe that with faith, family, friends, and Parent to Parent in our lives, I have become a stronger parent.  They have helped get me through all the rough patches of raising a child with special needs. I can now focus on watching my beautiful boy reveal the miracles of daily life he was always intended to show, to those with the courage to truly see.

Thank you,
Amy Kocher - Kittitas County Parent to Parent