Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dear Special Needs Mom (On Mother's Day)

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Dear Special Needs Mom,

Today I stood and watched you lower a ramp from your vehicle, and get down on all fours to unlatch safety belts from your child’s wheelchair. 
I noticed when one of the belts snapped your hand causing it to bleed.
You didn’t flinch, nor tend to your wound.

Without pause you continued on. You gently rocked the wheelchair into a safe position to take it down the ramp and out of the vehicle, mindful of your little one’s arms and legs. 

Raising the ramp with one hand and holding onto the wheelchair with the other.
You walked around to the other side of the car where I watched you unload the other half of your heart…your youngest child waiting patiently for you to free him from his seat.
You braced the wheelchair with your leg so it didn’t inadvertently roll into the street, while lifting your other child out of the vehicle. 
You reached for your purse, one grocery bag, and a bottle of hand sanitizer that you placed in your pocket.

Holding one hand of one child and pushing your other son’s wheelchair with the other, I caught you briefly recognizing your wound, and although I’m sure it was throbbing you carried on as if nothing had happened. 
For a moment your eyes caught mine.
My eyes holding back the tears that recognized so much of myself in you. 
For I too, am just like you.

Temporarily disguised as just a person on the street corner, my special needs life waiting for me at home. 

I wanted to approach you to say hello, but I could see your determination and focus and knew that I would only serve as a distraction from your shopping mission. 
I wondered what you were rushing into the store get; a carton of eggs, chocolate pudding for your children, and a specific brand of apple juice – the only one that your child with special needs would drink – knowing that your one small bag could only hold a handful of essential items.
I was walking to my car in awe of another strong mom, when I turned back into the store.

A flower display not far from the entrance with a handful delicate flowers -  daisy mix with pink carnations and a single rose caught my attention.

A bouquet card lay in the middle.  I made my purchase and quickly filled out the card:
“A Special Needs Mother’s Love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. 
Happy Mother’s Day,
Love a fellow Special Needs Mom”
I left the bouquet on the windshield of your car, hoping that it would bring you sunshine in a day that is often filled with a balance of difficulties and joy. 

Every now and again sometimes we just need someone to see us, to know we’re not invisible and we’re not walking the journey alone.


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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Special Needs Parenting: I don’t have time if you don't believe in Aliens and Unicorns

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"A friend once said I was delusional and I almost fell off my unicorn."

As special needs parents have a profound understanding of reality.  We never underestimate the seriousness of our child's condition nor are we delusional or in denial about our child's condition or prognosis.  We can fully accept what lies before us and yet know with certainty that there is always the potential for continued recovery and improvement.   We are a community that often believes in the impossible.  Aliens and Unicorns?  Sure.  Why not?  In our world anything is possible. 

So why is it so hard for others to support our desires not to shut the door on the realm of possibilities?  

The main problem being is that many people want special needs parents to take "Hope" out of the equation.  They discourage us from considering "cures, miracles, recovery or improvement."   And if we stand our ground and shout from the rooftops how we believe in our child and know they are capable of accomplishing great things eyes roll as if we've just told them we've shook hands with an alien all the while riding on our glitter covered unicorn.   We are not crazy.  We are not just dreamers.  We are balancers of hope, faith and the knowledge that anything is possible. 

Dismal predictions are a dime a dozen.  It’s the theory that you should prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario at all times and if it turns out better than you are simply pleasantly surprised.   If we were to operate under the assumption that this was as good as things were going to get for our child with special needs, we could never be the effective cheerleaders that our children need us to be.  
There is a quote by Cherie Carter-Scott, that I feel defines the spirit of a special needs parent:

 “Ordinary people believe only in the possible.  Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible.  And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

By embracing what we are told is impossible for our children, we begin to see endless possibilities.  We do not see things how they are now on the special needs journey, but how they could be at some point down the road.  It’s okay he’s not walking by age two, because maybe he will at age, five  - seven – ten.  It’s never out of the question. 

We understand that no matter what the probabilities and odds may be of any accomplishments our children are capable of fulfilling in their lifetime, that there is the tiniest percentage of chance that things could be in our child’s favor then that is where our focus remains. 

Special needs parents find comfort in the fact that the unexpected can and does happen
If there is an 80 percent chance that our child may never be verbal or walk then it is equally 80 percent possible for it to occur.  If there is the slightest chance, then there is a possibility. 

If we do not believe that our children are capable of great things, then we will lack the ability to pick up on whatever it is that needs to be done in order to nudge its occurrence into tangible existence. Literally anything is possible – including aliens and unicorns. 


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