Sunday, June 29, 2014

Your Special Needs Child is Spoiled

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We held a garage sale yesterday.  It was likely the first time in my life where I separated myself from those sentimental feelings that prevent you from parting with possessions.   I've been keeping a lot of things that I don't necessarily use or need just because I associated them with a memory I wanted to hold onto. 

But before you know it memories start to add up and so does your basement and things just gather and sit, collecting dust and taking up space.  So I tried not to think too hard about what anything meant to me and said "self you are not using this, you do not need it, time to go."

Easier said than done until you get to things like Noah's life-size bear that I bought for his first Christmas at Sam's Club that nearly cost me $60 with the hopes I could use it to teach him to sit independently.   Stuff it in a bag and keep going I told myself.  And up the stairs the bear went and out into the garage.  Wasn't even truly sure how I'd feel about selling my childhood pink Huffy bike that I nicknamed "sweet thunder,"  but there it sat too in close proximity to the bear.    A piece of my childhood and a piece of Noah's side by side.   Luke wasn't exempt either, out went a rocking horse that we bought last Christmas that he quickly outgrew.   Luke watching from the living room window, obviously distressed about seeing his horse for sale, so we tried to put it out of the line of his sight. 
Goodbye Bear.  We'll miss you, thank you for all you tried to do.

Most of what went were things Noah had simply outgrown.  We've acquired several highchairs... like more than five. Tons of toys that have lights, sounds, and movement littered our driveway.  My basement contains likely seven types of swings and ten therapy balls.  Even things I imported from the UK that cost us hundreds of dollars, like a baby seating system and even a bath seat that I purchased from Australia for Noah.   Things no one would ever pay that price for, except for me.  I'm sure the value of what was out there would have just surprised everyone.   But when you lay it all out there for a garage sale you know you won't even see half of what you paid for it.   Garage sales are such a funny thing, even if you give it away dirt cheap the negotiations to get it for less than .25 cents is the ultimately goal of most prospective buyers - one of the many reasons I'm not truly a fan of holding garage sales.  I really dislike when people act like your $1.00 price tag is terrible for an item in new condition that cost you $35.   I even had hoped that by posting a poster of Noah and telling them where the money from their sale was going that it would make a difference.  It did to I think two people who directly donated to Noah, but most of who came were people obviously trying to scoop up your possessions to load up their trucks to re-sell it all for a higher price.  

A garage sale customer made a comment to my mother about all the really great things that we were selling, and said "wow you really spoil your children."   To which my mother replied, "You don't understand, my daughter has a special needs child and we literally kept trying everything we could."

Just thinking about that statement makes me more teary than the fact that I let go of things that had memories.  Because in the end, you know my mother was right.  I kept trying and trying and trying some more.  And I'm still trying.  It's not about spoiling Noah, it was about giving him every opportunity - any opportunity I could find to soothe him as a distraught, inconsolable baby, to find ways to get him to engage with toys, to try to help him get past sensory aversions, to find ways to even sit comfortably with lack of head, neck and trunk control and purchasing every promising high chair I could get my hands on.  And most importantly a way to make him feel included and engage and participate in the world around him.  

And I'm still trying to do that.  With buying a $630 special needs sled from the UK, obtaining the GoTo Seat, the Upsee, and my mind still keeps wandering as I learned of a specialized GoKart that I would love to have that exists in the UK that allows the parent to drive while having a adapted seating for a special needs passenger with a five point harness.   I don't want Noah to feel like he is missing out on life - on experiences that he cannot have because he is severely disabled.   And maybe you might point the finger and say I'm spoiling him.   But if you could see the sadness in Noah's eyes and hear his pleas and cries watching his little brother do something he cannot, I guarantee you that the thirst to obtain anything to make all your child who cannot otherwise participate without specialized expensive toys, or experimenting with more highchairs that the average mother needs, would drive you to sell off all your precious memories with the hopes you could find a way to keep offering him everything you could.  

It's not like a typical child that can just play with a stick and a make mud pies.  He needs a lot of sensory stimulation and he needs access to toys that do half the work for him and often times have the ability to move or function independently from him making them do so.  And sometimes you buy things thinking they'll work and then they don't.  But you convince yourself they don't work today, but hang onto it, Noah will improve and they'll work tomorrow.   In the end you realize that that a lot of it simply needs to go.  It has served it's purpose and done the most it can do and then you find yourself staring at all these things in your driveway with a for sale sign.   All these beautiful things that look like they were never used, many items still new in boxes.  Because you gave it your all and kept trying.


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.