Saturday, January 17, 2009

Musings of a Special Needs Mom

When I was a little girl playing with my doll babies, I never imagined I'd become a mother to special needs kids. It never even occurred to me. But here I am ~ Sharon B., reporting for duty. And although Savannah's learning disability is far more subtle than Isaiah's cerebral palsy and developmental delays, they both require modifications to their worlds. Our whole family has had to adapt. Our life is a constant adaptation.

But that doesn't make me a hero. I'm not a superwoman. Don't ask me how I "do it all". Although I am flattered, I actually don't. I'm human. I get frustrated. I get angry. I get sad. I get burnt out. I have bad days. I have bad thoughts. I have sleepless nights worrying about their future. Who will care for Isaiah once James, the girls, and I are deceased?

Mostly I try to live in the moment. Enjoy our life. Love the kids. Encourage Isaiah. Rejoice in his every inchstone ~that's what we special needs moms call our children's milestones. They are usually tiny compared to how typical kids develop, but to us they are monumental, cause to throw a parade-types of occurrences. Having Isaiah last has shown me how much I took for granted with Savannah and Mariah. All of the insignificant fretting and obsessing. It doesn't take having a special needs child to realize what's important in life. It just tends to get you there quicker.

A surefire way to to ruffle a special needs mom's feathers is to use the word retarded--in any shape, form, or context. It might be a technically or medically accurate term to describe mental or physical delays in abilities, but it is considered a rude, crude, and insensitive term to many of us--reaching far beyond the obvious politically incorrectness. It's an insult. It's demeaning. It's heartbreaking.

Isaiah is a lot of things: inquisitive, affectionate, naughty, sweet, happy, lovable, determined... "retarded" doesn't even crack the Top 1,000,000.

Do I feel blessed that God has "chosen me for this special journey" like some people suggest? I feel blessed to have the privilege of being the mother to 3 beautiful children. I feel blessed that God has shown me the love, wisdom, and patience that was inside of me all along. I feel blessed to have a husband who is wholeheartedly my partner in this journey.

I'm not perfect, but I am their mother. I am going to do my best to play the cards that life has dealt us. Isn't that what any mother would do?


Christy said...

As always, your amazing way with words humbles and inspires me. You may not think you are a hero but with your always positive outlook (at least on the outside), grace under pressure and wicked sense of humor, you qualify as one of my heroes!

Jamie said...

That was beautiful Sharon! Your children are lucky to have you as their mother.

Isaiah is a lot of things: inquisitive, affectionate, naughty, sweet, happy, lovable, determined

Having met Isaiah, I can 100% agree with this statement. He is a wonderful, beautiful boy with the most contageous smile I've ever seen.

Michele said...

The depth and truth of those words certainly echo and ring true in my heart. Your words are truly inspirational to all of us mommies of special needs kids. Thank you.