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Straight From The Heart: A Caregiving Dad To A Special Needs Daughter Shares His Rewards

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
06/07/12  7:44 PM PST

Caregiver Story Winner Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Contest

Written by David L., 2003 Contest Winner

“From the first moment that I wake up my disabled seven year old daughter each morning to the last moment when I finally switch off her bedroom light each night, I know my job is not only that of being her parent, or being a parent to a special needs child, but that my job is also that of being a caregiver to another human being.

Being a caregiver has been the most demanding occupation for me. It has been a struggle for me to balance her needs with mine every day. Being her caregiver has been frustrating to my soul, a strain on my back, and (at times) overwhelming on my pocketbook. But it has all been worth it.

As I watch her grow and develop and gradually become more independent and self-reliant, I know that I am doing my job well. She is becoming more than I could ever have dreamed. I can take pride in the fact that someday she will be a contributing citizen in our society. And all of what she will eventually become started first between her and me. I better understand my role in her life now.

I am always up for the challenges of being her caregiver, though I wish there were none. It has taken skillful planning, coordination and execution. It has taken a vision of things to come, plus the knowledge of how to get there with a little faith added in for good measure.

Being a caregiver for my daughter, Emily takes knowing that I cannot do it alone. It takes surrounding myself with responsible people and services to help aid, assist and provide me with the relief I need. The help is out there and I have found it. It is the support that has helped me build a strong foundation to which all have worked so successfully together to provide the care for my daughter that she so richly deserves. She may never fully realize these efforts, nor may she ever express the impact that we are all making in her life, but it shows. I can already see that I am making a difference. She is a better person directly because of me and my caregiving.

I had always thought that parenting meant part of your responsibilities included being a teacher. As a caregiver to my daughter, I am more than that. I am also the one learning. I am also the one growing. I am also the one becoming more than I could ever have dreamed. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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