My Husband "Subvet" says that when our first son "Sonshine" was born the sun rose on our world, when our second son "Gator" was born the sun laughed and when our daughter "Sugars" was born all the flowers bloomed. That says it all.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Your mind is the garden, your
thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds. — William

Thursday, April 7, 2011

10 Blessings from raising Special Needs Kids

I originally posted this at Extraordinary Mom's Network 9/8/08

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.


ellen b. said...

God has truly strengthened you and equipped you to be a mighty mom!!

ABNPOPPA said...

That was just GREAT, Makes everybody thankful for what ever they have.


I hate word verification, can I get an exception? Barrack gives them! Smiling here.{:0)

JenLive! said...

Wow. I love this post.
You're an amazing woman. It would be so much easier to feel sorry for yourself, but you take the high road and look for the best. (I especially love you box comment).

Susan said...

I know I've told you before...but you are absolutely amazing!!!! Your 3 kids are among the most blessed in the world.

Lisa said...

What an awesome post! And I do mean that I am awed ~ and humbled by your strength, commitment, and grace. How blessed your children are to have you!

Lori in South Dakota said...

I think I want to try the "gator grip" on "chaps man"!! But your post is lovely and thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post!! My 4 kids don't, at this point, have any special needs that I can see but I understand what you mean about a child being a miracle. My third child, our daughter Sassy, had a very very uneventful birth until the very last moment. She got caught on the way out, in a way that was bad enough that she was born without a heartbeat.

She came around quickly enough once she was free, thanks to our highly skilled midwife, but the experience of almost losing her definitely changed my perspective on the nature of motherhood itself. Life is so very fragile, and so very beautiful. Sassy turns 2 in about 2 weeks. :-)

I'm glad Fr. Philip introduced us!

... said...

wow! that's quite the list. and it makes my heart smile. you are such an awesome mom and i'm sure anyone reading this is encouraged by your experience and attitude.

thank you.

Unknown said...

Amen, now that's good preaching sister!
#5 especially showed me why you're so willing to coach and/or cheer me along. God has given you the gift of encouraging.

#7 shows where you are spiritually. Today's society pressures us to lay out a certain path for our kids. I'm so proud of you for accepting your path and leaving the path of your kids in God's loving hands. Your are such an inspiration to me!

Mrs4444 said...

This is a terrific post. Your attitude is inspiring. It sounds like both you AND your kids are blessed to have each other :)

Stacey said...

What a beautiful post. I can related to the Gator-boy explanation. I've got a little man who pulls the same manoever and has done since he was 8 or 9 months. Coincidentally, The Wiggly Safari featuring Steve Irwin was his favourite video for years!

May we all continue to see the blessings even on our darkest days.

Thank you for sharing that.

Lisa said...

Wow. Have I said it lately,
Sarah? You guys rock!

Lisa said...

Wow. Have I said it lately,
Sarah? You guys rock!

Mrs4444 said...

You are beautiful. I'm going to link this up on Saturday. Thanks.

Cyndy Bush said...

What a wonderful outlook on parenting and life!