Surviving and Thriving

Surviving and Thriving


In this world of parenting kids with special needs, people always talk about surviving versus thriving.

Having not one, but two special kiddos have changed my life in profound ways. My motto (as a parent) has always been: “Do whatever you need to survive.”

And I have. And almost eleven years in, we are all still alive and most days doing okay.

I feel like there is such emphasis on “thriving, not just surviving” in this special needs parenting journey when BOTH are possible at the same time. And it is okay.

There are bad days and good days, drama and smiles, coffee and wine, regression and progression. Not everything is a straight line. While it can be really, insanely hard some days, don’t forget to look for the joy in moments too.

God knows exactly who He gave us as children to raise. He knows every single thing about us and still chose us to be their parents.

Most days I have NO idea as to why or what I am doing, but each day He gives me the exact amount of grace needed.

So whether you have a little angry, non-sleeping baby, or a first grader with behavioral challenges, or an eleven-year-old that still needs you to sleep by them, or a seventeen-year-old that still loves Barney and is on nappies, keep on doing what you are doing.

We may never know the “why’s” until we get to heaven and have a LONG conversation with Jesus (with video playback) and see the bottle of our tears and the crowns, but until then, keep going. You can survive and thrive and still be okay. This life is not easy, but it is worth it. One day, one hour, one minute at a time.

Sending hugs, love, coffee or tea, and wine

Written by Heidi Vermaak

Mom of two amazing kids who have a variety of needs. “Brain damage due to oxygen loss” tends to be the “diagnosis” and every day is a surprise as to what we will be dealing with. Gr. 1 and Gr. 4 are about to start this year, so pray for us!

Who is Parent Reality?

Who is Parent Reality?

Parent Reality was started by two parents of special needs kids, Johanni Meiring & Nico Liebenberg. They both had the experience of feeling alone and isolated in this parenting struggle since their kids were small and could relate well with each other’s pain.

Since support groups for parents with special needs kids are very needed, they decided to start a group where parents could connect, support and encourage each other.

Since October 2014 Parent Reality has grown into a safe haven for parents to connect, ask questions and not feel alone in this world.



Episode 1


Episode 2

Vulnerability & Special Needs Parenting

Episode 3

Your Social Life & Special Needs Parenting

Episode 4

Accepting your Child’s Diagnosis

Episode 5

Dealing with our New Lockdown Reality

Episode 6

Special Needs and Family Relationships

Episode 7

Teaching Your Autistic Child at Home

Onderhoud in Afrikaans op Radio Kansel (Special Needs Special Life)

4 Die Lewe – 13 September 2020


Contact Us

Contact:     Johanni Meiring
Mobile:       083 395 9387