Parenting a Child with Chronic Illness
A Blessing in Disguise
Learning to Live Five Minutes at a Time
Parenting children who live with chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, or disability challenges almost every decision we make, and we learn to do it all five minutes at a time.
Learning to Parent Five Minutes at a Time
In five minutes, we can:
- celebrate a catnap
- engage with a kind cashier
- savor the scent of clean laundry or clean hair
- flush a PICC line
- tie a shoe
- steep a cup of tea
- listen to the hearts of our growing teens, the words they say and the words they don’t
- fill a pot with water to boil pasta
- fold a load of laundry
- step outside into the sunshine
- eat an apple or a really good piece of chocolate
- take a deep breath and whisper, “Help, Lord.”
We can do anything for five minutes at a time.
“For so many years, I longed for someone a few years ahead of me on this parenting journey, who could look back and gently say, ‘I’ve been where you are. You will survive this. It might be the hardest thing you will ever do, but you can do this.’” (Cindee Snider Re)
One of the biggest lessons for me was to realize that what I had always imagined for my life had to change significantly. I had to readjust my expectations for me, our marriage, and my children – things like all our kids graduating from college, getting married, and having children of their own. Chronic illness, pain, suffering, grief, and loss do not fit into this mold.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
“I had to learn to embrace these words from Ephesians 4:2-3, replacing my frustration and sense of loss with this new paradigm of life – the life God had planned for us, so different from the life I had expected. I’m still learning and seeking God’s help and direction, but today, through all we’ve experienced, God has brought us closer together as a family.” (Tony Re)