In which we introduce the topic of impossible children

Confession: I have always found children, by and large, to be incredibly difficult.

If you search, you may find an occasional child who is easy (by comparison), but children are difficult creatures. You may love them to death, as I do. But that does not change the fact that right alongside their charm and their innocence, they are selfish and silly and demanding and intrusive, and when you think they are finally playing quietly you will discover they are amusing themselves by breaking the wooden fretwork off your grandmother’s antique china cabinet.

This is normal. This is what children means.

They will yell at you when you don’t give them what they want, and sometimes they will yell at you when you do give them what they want, because you gave it at the wrong time or in the wrong color of cup, or you gave one to their sister too. How could you?

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. In fact if you happen to be a little deaf or a little thick-skinned, or if you have lost your sense of smell in an early bout with scarlet fever or if you have numb toes from frostbite as a teenager, all these things will stand you in good stead. Less is more

And children are difficult.

But a few children, and you will think of one in a minute – a few children



These are the ones who, by birth or nature, are magically wired to push every button you have, and some new ones you didn’t know you had. When they are tired of pushing those, they will invent new ones to push. Bzzzt. They will place you on red alert for years without a break. They will put the rest of your life on hold, and your marriage first on autopilot and then on dangerous ground as you and your husband disagree about methods and priorities. They will fail to predict consequences and rearrange their behaviors accordingly; they will not learn what you teach them. They will ruin the things that are precious to you. They will regularly threaten the people you love. They will teach you to wait for the next smashup, and for the calm, which is more deadly still. They will convince you that either they or you are headed for the psychiatric unit or the state prison, and you will lie awake at night worrying: Which? They will make you feel like the worst parent, an incompetent basket case of failure and inadequacy.

You will cry more tears for them than you ever cried for love before.

You will ache for peace.

You will feel guilty for the aching.

You will not want to get out of bed in the morning because they will be there, waiting.

I am here to say that there is hope for impossible children. There is hope for the mothers of impossible children. And in the next few days, I would like to share with you the outrageous idea that you may stand to gain from having one in your home, if you survive it.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

Eagerly anticipating your next articles. Shari, God is using you in deep, thorough ways, to meet desperate needs in desperate hearts. I love when I get to recommend your blog and get the reply ‘oh, I LOVE her blog!! It’s helped me so much!!’

But I love it even more when I recommend it and later get a big thank you for the favor.

You have shaped my life in many ways and I’m so grateful to you!

In the same boat...
6 years ago

Yeeessssssss. I’m a mother to one of these. They may take years to learn something that perhaps a sibling of his takes only a month. I find this child amazes me….how..? Why..? Seriously…? (As in, how he operates. Oh my, his logic is dreadful sometimes).
I’m looking forward to the coming posts. Blessings to all you mothers of these unique human beings.:)

6 years ago

“all these things will stand you in good stead. Less is more”??Love it!
And I would add: they show you just how selfish you actually are, and make it their life-work to try to correct that. Sigh.

6 years ago

Bring it on! Many days I think I’m just too old for this. Other days they actually play nicely for five minutes stretches or longer without 2.5 yr old squashing, squishing, pushing or otherwise throwing his 12 lb weight advantage around with his 10 mo brother. Can you write a formula for eradicating whining, please? Huh? please Shari? Shari, can you write about whining can you write about whining can you write about whining can you write about repeating things over and over until acknowledged can you write about repeating oh look books books are yummy to 10 mo old goodbye.

6 years ago

I. CANNOT WAIT. to see what you have to say in the next few days. God has gifted me with one of these special ones, but I confess that too often I view her as a liability instead of a gift. Her diagnosis does not fit neatly into anything that already has a name such as down syndrome or pretzel syndrome or autism or any one of the other myriad labels. Her missing piece of DNA is random and the course feels uncharted. Thank you for tackling this topic. Your words bless me often.

6 years ago

I laughed and cried. I could sure use some hope right now, so please don’t wait too long to post the sequel.

6 years ago

The tears threatened to come when I read this.

Some of us knew what you meant in every single sentence,

Mary Yoder

Beth Russo
6 years ago

Your honesty is worth a million dollars. The “fake perfect mom/precious children” game is exhausting and extremely lonely. Thank you for you!!

L. Baer
6 years ago

What I want to know is how we can be honest without saddling our children with the crushing identity of being The Impossible One.
And where will the child go for refuge in the heartbreaking possibility that division actually happens in the parents or in the churches who are responsible for shepherding their hearts? I am so thankful that by God’s grace this isn’t an inevitable outcome.
I am also here to say that there is hope, and that I have already gained more than I have given. God is GOOD.

6 years ago

You have described one of mine so perfectly… I honestly didn’t know others dealt with this as well!

6 years ago

I think in the two comments above this one lies the tension that all mothers face. Talk too much about the issues, or talk in the wrong way, and your child is shamed into a box from which he cannot escape. On the other hand, talk too little, for whatever reason (there are many good ones; God bless you, Anonymous…), and you may find yourself in another box, separated from the helpful, hopeful community of people who’ve experienced similar things.

I talk about this tension a little in my next post, but it is an ongoing dilemma for me and I do not have the answers.

6 years ago

I can’t believe you found a way to make me laugh about something that hurts so much. And my children are probably only in the difficult, not impossible, category. But multiply by six and it feels impossible.

Join the conversation to share your comments.x
Scroll to Top