Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Ways Having a Special Needs Child Has Made Me a Better Person

Having Junior has been a roller coaster. I always say the lows of having a special needs child are lower, but the highs are much higher, and the blessings that come from Junior's innocence and joy are beyond measure.

The pain of hearing your child has a "diagnosis" is devastating, but the joy of watching them reach even the most mundane milestone is unparallelled. We've started a new round of therapies with Junior...he's now in Occupational Therapy in addition to the Speech Therapy, and they've recommended him to Physical Therapy as well. It's been a busy and exhausting couple of weeks, but through it all, I've realized that his challenges have made me a better mom, and a stronger person.

1. I've Learned to Relax
When Stinker was born, I had all those "First Time Mother" lists. She couldn't watch TV until she was 2, then it was only limited to educational shows while we engaged in thoughtful discussions about what we had watched. Everyday, we worked on our letters and numbers and I taught her to count in Latin at 18 months. I worried about every single milestone, and made constant checklists about what she "needed" to be accomplishing at her age.

Looking back, I wasted so much precious energy worrying about things I couldn't control. Once Junior was born and his special needs were made apparent, my perspective changed completely. No, he's not "ahead" of his peers, and he's not hitting milestones when "they" say he should, but he is hitting milestones at his own pace, and I'm okay with that. He will learn his alphabet, he will learn to speak, and he will be able to run smoothly someday. Maybe not today, but in his time. In the meantime, I just keep looking at the little things he's accomplished, and am grateful for the little "Hi"s I never thought I'd hear.

2. Little Things Don't Bother Me As Much
I'm a fairly intense and competitive person. As my mother would say, I often get my knickers in a knot. Before Junior, a burnt dinner would result in an evening of sulking, a missed TV show would garner some lofty complaining, and the little details of life seemed to be bogging me down. But, once he came along, I realized that some things are more important and longer lasting than the little inconveniences in life. This has allowed me to appreciate more of the blessings in life.   

3. I Give Myself Grace
My days are spent running from appointment to appointment, homeschooling, and trying to keep  everything most things running smoothly, I realize that I can't do it all and have to prioritize. There are seasons of life where you have to let things go and not beat yourself up about it. This season of life is one of pre-cut veggies from Trader Joes and frozen pizzas, not gourmet meals. I'm tired. I don't have three loads of laundry done and fresh bread baked by the time my kids wake up. If I wake up before them, it's usually just a couple minutes before. But, we usually snuggle into my bed and watch Sesame Street together, which is precious time I wouldn't trade for anything. Sometimes it means the laundry doesn't get done that day, but I do the best I can, and give myself grace for everything else.

4. I Take Less for Granted
Junior's deafness made me look at hearing in a whole new way. I could never take it for granted again. And once he got his cochlear implants, the miracle of hearing became even more exciting.

5. I See Past Outward Appearances
The stares. Oh the stares. Sometimes they're just curious, sometimes concerned, but on occasion people can be rude and inconsiderate. Junior comes with a few extra wires and some challenges, and I see when other kids avoid playing with him as a result, and it breaks my heart. He is sweet and wonderful, and some people can't see past the outward appearance. He may not be "perfect" in the world's eyes, but he is perfect to me, and I hope everyone he meets gets to know the real Junior, and not just the Junior who needs to wear magnets on his head and walks a little funny.

Junior has taught me so much, but I think the most important thing he's given me is a little glimpse into unconditional love. I can never fathom how much God loves me, but because of Junior, I'm beginning to understand His love a little bit better. Sure, he comes with some challenges, but I love him no matter what. Even though we aren't perfect, God loves us through it all. And that gives me more joy than anything.

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1 comment:

  1. God bless you, Frugal Momma! I thought of you today and was glad I remembered your blog's name even though I left FB last year ;)


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