Bloggy Moms

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reflections on Thanksgiving Thoughts From a Mom of a Special Needs Kid

I know that many of you have seen or read about people on Facebook posting one thing a day that they are thankful for for the past month or so. Heck maybe even some of you reading this may be thinking of your thankful thought for today or tomorrow. I did not participate in this new ritual this year. I'm not sure exactly why. I do know one of the reasons was that I was afraid I might miss a day. So instead I'd like to tell you about a few things/ people that I am blessed by.

First of all I must thank God for all of the blessings in my life. While that might sound like some Christian lingo. Like you expect from me. Let me explain. Even though this past year, even the past five months have been incredibly difficult for my family, we know that God has been with us every step of the way. He brought a new friend into my life who has been an invaluable resource and encouragement to me. He gave us a new educational advocate. We liked the former one fine but she was just too expensive. Our new advocate is affordable, close by and best of all she has a child like my daughter. She has walked many miles in my shoes. She is able to help my husband and I navigate the rough waters of the school system. As I have mentioned previously, our church has an incredible disabilities ministry. It is through this ministry and the staff and volunteers who run it, that my daughter has been able to find a place where she feels loved and accepted on Sunday mornings. I am eternally grateful to God for this.

Princess has been to no less than six elementary schools in her short education, four in just the past year alone. We have lived in the same house since her birth. We recently were told that she would be at the same school for the remainder of the school year. When I heard that I wanted to shout "Hallelujah!" from the rooftops and mountain tops. This is something to be grateful for indeed.

The school that Princess is currently attending serves kids like her who need more structure with a loving staff. They work on academics and behavior goals with lots of positive reinforcements. At first Princess hated this new school, but in the last few weeks she seems to be complaining less. I'll take that as a sign that she is adjusting. I am grateful for this new school and the staff who work there.

I am thankful for medical professionals who take the time to show my family and I love and patience. There was one time this summer when things were not so nice but the nurses showed Princess grace when she did not deserve it. They understood that her illness was making her make choices that were not pleasant. They could have easily given in and been harsh but instead they took the high road. There was one nurse in particular who shared with Princess that she had a son about her age. She loved on her as if my daughter was her own. We have often wondered if we would ever get a chance to thank her in person. Well you know what? God knew that was a desire of our heart so recently he gave us the chance to do just that.

Princess was at the medical facility where this nurse works getting a cut looked at. After the doctor fixed it up, we headed out to our car. Who was out in front of the building? Why none other than our angel of mercy! Our family got to thank her in person. We were able to tell her how much her kindness meant to us. As she was walking away to get back to work, Princess ran up to her and asked to give her a hug. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Even though Princess is a friendly outgoing child, she struggles with maintaining friendships. Those few friends that she does have mean the world to her. I think that they mean more to her than the average child. The friends she does have have to be able to forgive her and show lots of patience. Princess has three friends who are a blessing to her and in turn a blessing to us. One is a friend she doesn't see much but who is very dear nonetheless. Another is a boy that she met at church. They enjoy just hanging out whenever they are able to. The third friend is my best friend's daughter. I am grateful as I see this friendship blossom. They are so good for each other. This friend remembers the not so good times but chooses to focus on the good times that the two friends share. I am told that this friend and her mother pray for our family every morning on the way to school. We are blessed indeed!

I must conclude this list by mentioning my husband, AKA Princess's dad. He has had to shift his thinking about what a dad should teach his daughter. He has has to learn a whole set of acronyms and jargon. He has attended many IEPs. He is the one who is able to redirect Princess when she gets agitated. He loves Princess the way a child should be loved, unconditionally. He did not sign up for being a parent of a child with special needs but he is embracing it. He is choosing to let it make him a better man.  Those of you who do not have a child with special needs may not be aware of this but many dads of these children throw in the towel or are in denial about their child. Princess's dad is not one of these men. For this Princess and I are grateful.

At the end of the day I can choose to focus on the negative, the hardships we have experienced this past year or I can look for God's blessings. I choose to actively seek His blessings on my family's life.

May all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Keep looking for God's blessings in your life no matter how big or small.

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