I posted this in a Facebook group this weekend. It seemed to resonate with people.
When I watch my sister parent her two neurotypical kids, it feels like hiking. There are predictable milestones and lots of guidebooks to tell her where she's going. It's hard work to be sure, and at times she's faced obstacles and circumstances that made it harder. Nobody enjoys hiking through a thunderstorm. But on the whole, the journey is enjoyable and most people understand what she's doing and where she's going.
Parenting my gifted daughter feels like mountain climbing. I'm not talking about scaling Everest here, but it's definitely an undertaking that requires different equipment. Even the smallest step feels like more work. There are fewer predictable milestones and people may think your need to climb is weird. They might tell you to take the same hiking trails everyone else does, or refuse to accompany you. But the views are exhilarating.
Raising my 2E son, on the other hand, feels like being strapped into a roller coaster. Sometimes he climbs steadily up, but it seems like within moments we go from climbing to plummeting. The highs are breathtaking and the falls are terrifying. Sometimes I feel like I'm steering, but sometimes I feel like I'm strapped helplessly into a ride that I can neither predict nor control.
All three journeys are, in turns, hard work, scary, and intensely rewarding, but they're all different.
It's not a complete analogy - it doesn't touch on parenting kids with delays who aren't gifted, for example, single parenting, parenting in poverty, etc. But as a mom I felt like I took a few punches last week, and this is reflective of what I was feeling. My easy days are mountain climbing. My tough days are hanging onto a roller coaster.