When a family finds out that one of its members has special needs, it can be easy to panic. Some couples even go so far as to contemplate abortion when they find out they are carrying a Down Syndrome or other special needs child (or, worse, go through with that terrible choice).
In today’s guest post, contributing writer “Mighty Mom” shares ten ways that she and her husband have benefitted from their special needs kids (SNKs).
10) They make me laugh. – It’s true, every day. for example. My oldest has a speech delay (among other things). One day out of the blue he started walking around saying “I’m sauced Momma! YEEESS MOMMA!! I’m sauced!!” (we’re teetotalers too!) It took me about 2 weeks to figure out he was repeating me saying “I’m exhausted!” ~~ we still say we’re “sauced” around here!
9) They give me the priviledge to witness miracles. My pregnancies and deliveries were hard and dangerous. I know just how lucky we are to have living, thriving children. Each of these babies is a miracle. How fortunate I am that God has allowed me to watch grow 3 of His Perfect Miracles.
8) I always wanted to be a cheerleader. But never went out for the team. Now I am able to be a cheerleader every day..while wearing the much more comfortable uniform of JAMMIES! The most often repeated phrase in my house is “You can do it! Try again! You can do it!” Maybe I should invest in pompoms!
7) They bring me closer to God, daily. One of the blessings of parenting SNKs (Special Needs Kids) is that you slowly learn that you have no control over their development. You have no control over their potential, we don’t even know what their potential is! I have no plans for my children’s future, as I have no idea what that future may look like. But see, this is how it’s SUPPOSED to be. We’re told NOT to plan for the future, just to trust that God will supply our needs. Learning to let that go is a painful but wonderful blessing.
6) I am never bored! About the time I think “This is alright, I’ve got this down…” something new comes up. A new experience, a new developmental hurdle, a new attitude, a new behavior “issue”, a new topic of conversation to get repeated over and over again….life is an adventure; my adventure is exciting.
5) I’ve learned to rejoice over every little thing. I appreciate each and every milestone that my kids reach, even something as “minor” as saying “ready…set..” and having the kid say “GO!” will bring tears of joy to my eyes. And this carries over into my whole life. The adult surgery patients I take care of think I’m strange when I do a victory dance over their first post-op poop. But to me, now, every triumph deserves a victory dance, take NOTHING for granted!
4) Raising SNKs inspires creativity. I’ve carried weighted backpacks to church because it helped with my middle child’s sensory integration problems, I bought a bounce house to help with my oldest’s low muscle tone, I’ve put tape on the living room floor to make a track for my oldest to work on physical therapy goals while playing “follow the leader” …(Mom was the leader), I created “Mama’s Special Sauce” out of nothing but vegetables, then substituted it for ketchup when the middle kid refused to eat even the most hidden vegetable, (yes, it worked, we used it for almost a year before starting to once again force the veggies). I’ve been told I “think outside of the box”. My response to this is “where’s the box?? Did your kids come in a box??”
3) These kids have given me many opportunities to teach. Because my kids “look normal” most people don’t understand their needs. No, baby girl isn’t saying “mama” at 18 months…nor is she walking. No, middle child can’t tell you his name. No, oldest isn’t going to look you in the eye and answer your question…he’s just gonna repeat your question back to you. But. the boys are both in regular classes in Pre-school. That middle child at 3 1/2 can not only count to 12, and tell you the alphabet, he can identify all the numerals and letters, as well as most shapes. My oldest can remember every word to every video and every song that he’s ever heard. He understands things (like Jesus’ booboos) that have never been told or explained to him. He knows where we’re heading by which streets we take, and if we pass an exit we normally take, he knows where we are and what is down that exit. These are the things I find myself teaching to others. And I teach a lot, so that others will understand and will not jump to conclusions the next time they come across a SNK.
2) My kids have blessed me with muscle tone and endurance. My middle child’s online nickname is Gator-boy, or Alligator. He came by this name when he was about a year old. He didn’t like being held, (sensory integration issues) always wanted to be on the go. When he decided it was time to get down out of Mama’s lap he would squirm until he was laying sideways across my lap….then start rolling around in place to loosen my grip. Have you ever seen the shows about Alligator Wrestlers? or Crocodile Hunters?? That’s exactly what he looks like. Yes, he still tries it…but it doesn’t work– in case you ever need to know, the secret is to pin the shoulders and hips…then they can’t roll over. You do this by putting one arm between their legs and the other across one shoulder, under the head. Then you hold your hands together at their belly and pull the kiddo in to your trunk. one…two…three….YOU WIN!
1) The number 1 reason why I feel blessed to have these children is that they have strengthened my character. Every parent’s worst fear is that “something” will be “wrong” with their child. For most parents this is nothing more than a fear that passes away as the child grows. For those of us with SNKs that fear is a reality. It does something to a person when they face their worst fear, then live through it. Your whole perspective on life changes. I used to be upset by little things, now, it’s much harder to get me discombobulated. I mean. I’m raising (with my wonderful husband) Three Special Needs Kids. All the other upsets in life pale in comparison. I am a better person for knowing these kids, and I am blessed, truly blessed, that God saw fit to name me as their mother. For that blessing, I am eternally grateful.
Do you have a list of your own? Please send it to hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com!