Updated: May 9, 2020
I’m blessed with a great day job; plus an evening job and overnight job for that matter. Even when the work is hard, dirty and unappreciated, I wouldn’t change my employer for anything. While my job description includes homeschooling, homemaking and child rearing, it is my work as a special needs mother that often consumes the bulk of my day.
It is not the job I had my eyes set on when I first started down the path of motherhood many years ago, but the promotion to special needs mom, while requiring the most demanding work I’ll ever do, has rewarded me richly in ways I never could have imaged.
Here’s a peek at how I’ve grown:
1. I’ve come to see there’s no such thing as a perfect child, except in that every child is perfect just as they’ve been created. I’ve stopped judging children in terms of what they can’t do, and instead learned to see their abilities. Every child has things he or she can’t do. You can spend your time focused on the fact your child can’t talk, walk or see or enjoy their ability to create, think and love unconditionally. I learned my love is not limited by a diagnosis, and neither is my sons’.
2. My family and I have become official ambassadors for Spinal Muscular Atrophy and special needs parenting. It’s not a title we asked to receive, but I’m determined that we’re going to own it. If we can do this, you can too. I’m never going to sugar coat it, but we’re going to put a face (or seven faces to be exact) on being open to life and how to thrive when faced with a physical disability, that you can’t argue with. Gotta question? Ask. Are you facing a difficult diagnosis? We’re here to show you nothing is impossible with God.
3. I stopped believing I could control everything.There’s still times I really try, but being a special needs mom forced me to let go and let God. It’s humbling to admit you don’t have complete control of a situation, especially a scary situation, but I’m discovering the peace that comes from turning away from fear and relying on faith.
4. I can do hard things. I constantly give more than I think possible or reasonable. I have painfully sacrificed and not been overcome but found even more to give. Every road block I foresee is eventually crushed. I hate when people tell me, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. God’s constantly gives me more than I can handle, but thankfully, I’m not handling it alone. Shout out to my support team of prayer warriors, the always interceding communion of saints and of course, the Holy Trinity.
5. And because of #4 I’m not scared of anything anymore (well, except that movie ‘The Ring’), at least not for long, because I’ve tackled the previously inconceivable. The perspective I’ve gained from being a special needs mom means something will have to be pretty danged serious for me bat an eyelash about it.
I am a stronger, more humble, sacrificial, and faith-filled person than I was before I started this journey. These have not always been easy lessons to learn, and many remain a work in progress, but I hope that by sharing them, those of you feeling overwhelmed in similar situations may find hope and those of you who never find yourself in my position may at least learn a bit from my experience.