“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.”
-Louisa May Alcott
As I was sitting in the hospital one day, as happened a lot when my daughter was younger, another mom came in and we started chatting. Her daughter has a feeding tube button, as well as needed dialysis weekly because her kidneys were dying. The sad part was that a transplant wasn’t feasible since it had been tried before and rejected. This little girl was a spit fire! Personality oozed out of her every pore. At that moment I was the most grateful mother on the planet!
The funny thing was, the other mom thought the same thing about me and my child. “At least I can hold my child and never fear of hurting her” she told me.
Perspective is a strange bed fellow! We each have our own (like opinions and ass holes, isn’t that how it goes?). Spending time in a children’s hospital will always show you a family who is going through something worse than you, and it’s humbling. On the flip side, we don’t always know we are an inspiration to others…we’re just living our daily lives the best we can. I sure am inspired and humbled by all you other moms!! It’s okay to be grateful for how lucky you are. To say “Thank God my child doesn’t have that!” (Hell, I do that in regards to some “average”, yet very bratty, kids and their overscheduled weeks.)
I think many of us are so used to working ourselves to the bone within our own special needs world that we forget to find the pleasure of life outside. We are looking back to fix the past and we miss out on the wonderful future that is ahead. What are some positives about your child’s diagnosis and your family situation? What are you grateful for in your life? What can you step back from and laugh at? Make a list (or lists) and keep it where you can see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You can’t change a diagnosis but you can change your perspective.
Here are just a few things on my “I’m so grateful for” kid list:
*If your daughter is in a wheelchair, you don’t have to worry about her butt cheeks hanging out or her tummy showing.
*Wheelchairs limit access to go with friends, so I’ll have to transport her to and from places and always know where she is.
*My Asperger kid likes quiet play so I can have time to make dinner.
*PT can wear my kids out so I could get lucky and get a nap in on the weekends.
*Since neither child is really sports inclined, I’m not running to practice all week and tournaments on the weekends. Saves me money and headaches!
Another positive of having SPED kids – I understand the fragileness that life is. We’ve been put in the life or death situation more than once. Time is precious and I don’t have to waste it on dumb things – I have a ready-made excuse. High maintenance friends are gone, committee memberships I felt I had to do are over, and I just send a check for school fundraisers and don’t bother doing them at all. Mask on me first, my kids second, then everything else in priority order. I also don’t have to watch the sappy movies to remind myself to be grateful for my life: I can open my kids’ doors at night and watch them sleep for that.
The rough days will come and sometimes it’s very hard to see the positives when you’re in the middle of a life melt down. That’s when you will need to find a mantra, or a few mantras, to say to yourself as a reminder of your strength, your courage, and your pleasure in life. Say it over and over until you believe it every day. Some of mine are “This too shall pass”, “I am the rock”, “Slow, calm, smooth”, “Abundant wealth”, and “Live, Love, Laugh”.
When the day is done and you survived outstandingly well (which simply means everyone is still alive) you can reward yourself with your favorite positive pleasure. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Give yourself all the kudos you deserve. Brag on you! Toot your own horn! Lavish in self pride. Another day is coming and you need to start it off as positive as you can.
Sending positive vibes to you,