Every story has 2 sides right? Well, here is the other side of mine. I am the mother of a child with special needs. Yup, 4x a week speech therapy and 2x a week special education services. I don’t identify with that “label” but its true. What I am realizing is that parents choose to wear the label full on or carefully slip in into their purse. I have not found a lot of parents that teeter totter back and forth very well. I guess its however we chose to find our strength. Whatever works.
After 4 months in Early Intervention, in May 2011, my youngest son was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. This is not a life threatening or life ending diagnosis but it set our course on a different path. My husband and I had talked a lot over the years about how we would be “better prepared” than some if God ever blessed us with a child who had different abilities. Sitting in that place now, I guess I am “prepared” but I certainly was not ready and I didn’t and don’t go willingly. I have the good fortune of having nearly 17 years of therapy experience under my belt at this point in time. I have worked with people with acquired disabilities and lifelong disabilities… cerebral palsy, autism, traumatic brain injury to name a few. I know that acceptance is a process. I also know that it is a cycle. Some days are great and progress is gung ho forward, full steam ahead! Other days,well, they are like a kick in the teeth. They are a jab to the very heart and soul of a mother’s dreams for her child. I know that the saying goes… Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. I have to say, when those words pertain to your child, yes, those words can hurt. When they are uttered, just like a cornered mother bear, you will see me roar. You will see any mother roar. It is only natural! I know any mother can relate to this feeling… whether it’s a child picking on your child, a teacher not recognizing a talent your child has or the feeling that you can not help your child because you simply do not know how. These feelings are unique to every mom.
As a mom and a professional, I see so many things… I see ignorance. I see money driving the bus. I see people who are not willing to change, even if it means helping a child, even their own child. I also see grace and kindness and compassion. I see strength in people who believed they had none. And so, I teeter totter in my head between professional and parent. Between “doing what is right for my child” and feeling the need to fight, even if they are one in the same. I guess my coping mechanism is to fight the fight when I see it and not to fight the fight all the time. That, my friends, leads to seriously unhealthy parental burn out and imbalance. I see parents do it all the time, special needs or not. They pick a fight, when there shouldn’t be one. They create drama where there doesn’t need to be any. I know that that feeling is also part of the process and part of the cycle of accepting a change to reality. But some just get stuck there for longer before moving on to acceptance. So instead of wearing the label of “special needs mom” I, instead, accept the label of mom of 4 kids. Each of my kiddos has challenges unique unto them. They each show me new things through their eyes. They each bring a special gift to my heart. They each need me to fight for them sometimes.
So this blog is more than about crafts, I hope you realize now. It is more than just recipes. It is about crafting a life and creating opportunity. Its a blog for every parent, of every child. A place where hopefully you can find inspiration for making a connection, with yourself, with your emotions and with your family. Thanks for reading.