Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nine little words that can make a parent's day

"I put a new zipper pull on Max's coat," the email said. I read it on the train last night as I was en route home from work, and it made me seriously glad.

Max's occupational therapist at school had written it. He struggles to grasp zippers, and we'd had a piece of fabric attached to the one on his jacket to make it easier for him to manipulate. More often than not, as we're zooming to get out the door (we are always zooming, in our house), we end up doing it for him. Or he says "Nooooo!" and barges out the door. Because: teen.

As any parent who has a child with disabilities know, we carry a looooong list in our heads of Things To Worry About My Child, right along our Things To Do For My Child list. Often, they all merge into one overwhelming list and you end up walk around with this undercurrent of guilt about things that you could be doing about your child to help him but haven't. Yet.

The therapists in Max's life have always helped relieve my anxiety. They enable Max and help me and Dave enable him, too, with things big (speech) and small (grasping a toothbrush). Although even the small stuff is a big deal. Max's OT at school has been working with him on dressing skills; it is an ongoing effort on everyone's part. Flexing his arms to slip on a jacket does not come easily to him. Grasping an itty-bitty zipper is also a real challenge.

The zipper pull solution was especially simple: a butterfly clip, the kind often found in offices. Once again, I felt flooded with gratitude for the support we get. Fifteen years into parenthood, there are times when I still feel the weight of the world on my shoulders for making sure Max succeeds in life. Last night, staring at the clip on his jacket, I once again felt a little less alone. 


  1. We attach charms to our daughter’s zippers to help her zip them up/down. They look cute and are easy to grasp. I can see a fire truck charm waiting for Max ��

  2. I'm so glad that Max has so many amazing people in his life looking out for him!


  3. Ellen, I completely understand that sometimes seemingly "simple" solutions can make a significant difference. My son has dysautonomia, and we've discovered that watching his fluid intake can make a significant difference in how he feels. It's wonderful when we can find workable solutions!

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Thanks for sharing!

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