“How many kids do you have?” is always a tricky question for me. There really is no easy answer to this question when you simultaneously work with kids and have kids of your own. Personally, I have two kids and could potentially have 50 or more throughout the week as my Speech patients. Like many people who work with kids, these kids are not just my patients, appointments, or a number. They truly are part of me and I consider each one part of my family. I like to think of myself as an aunt they visit once or twice a week that also helps them to speak, eat, play, and comprehend.
I get to hear about when my kids reach a milestone at home and get just as excited as if I was the one who gets to write it down in the baby book. I have been told of brand new pregnancies, trips to Disney, Christmas gifts and even about a divorce before anyone else.
I have cried happy tears, sad tears, concerned tears and frustrated tears more times than I can count alongside Mom and Dad.
I incessantly think, plan, and brainstorm on the best way to get OUR kids to the next level.
Sometimes my role is difficult, because I have to have hard conversations with parents, but the ultimate goal is to make OUR kids be the best they can be. It goes back to the old saying “Don’t kill the messenger.” These conversations include having to consult with a new doctor to rule out a different (and often scary) conditions, reasons why therapy just isn’t benefiting OUR kid at this time, and the possibility of a new school placement. None of these conversations are taken lightly or brought up on a whim. Each hard conversation is weeks and sometimes even months in the back of my head. I guess it would be easier if I didn’t care so much for each and every family, then I could just tell someone uncomfortable information without a second thought. On the other hand, if I didn’t care so much then I wouldn’t get so much joy and happiness of all the accomplishments OUR kids make’ and those happy moments greatly outweigh the stressful ones.
I am an affectionate person that sometimes just gives Mom a hug and says look what he/she did today that he/she couldn’t do last week. As much as I wish there was not a need for me in this world because that would mean OUR kids wouldn’t have to face adversity, I am glad that I can say I am a loving, devoted, affectionate pediatric therapist; and I hope that my “extended families” believe that, too.