Celebrating Seasons

Is there a certain time of year that is particularly challenging for you as it relates to your special child? Maybe it is a specific date or season that brings on anxiety of when you first entered the world of parenting a child with special needs. Maybe it is directly related to the beginning of your journey, and it holds thoughts of its own. These memories have their own set of particular emotions that are associated only with this time…  Do you have such a time or season? Does your heart start to race at just the thoughts?

Many things can accelerate the feelings that were associated with our season of being a new special parent. For some of us, when we hear a certain professional’s voice, or our child has an appointment at a place where these feelings were birthed, the memory of that season of our lives becomes ever so clear. For still some, the sight of a particular medicine, treatment, or assistive device that your child needed at that time makes these emotions surface. For others, it may be the memory of when and how we first came to accept our child’s challenges—these realizations have become part of us, and have an actual “anniversary” in our minds.

When fall comes, my emotions race back to the fall when my daughter’s life was forever changed. This is our fifth fall since then, and I vowed that this year would be full of hope and happiness. My challenge for all of us this month (myself included!) is to find something positive to replace any negative thoughts that encompass whatever you relate to as that season of your special parenting life.

Whether this time was a very short while ago, or many years ago, we all share the same feeling about it…The more special parents I encounter, the more I realize we all have a space in our hearts that were forever changed when we learned something about our child would be different and unique. At first, that space is filled with sadness, confusion and anger. We do anything we can to fill it up with our own strength.

Then as time goes by, this cavity begins to fill up with new tissue that you never thought would be able to dwell within you. You used to see others that had special children and wonder how they did it. Then one day, you became one of them. You learned how to instantly compromise everything in your life up until that moment, and live to give your child hope and stamina to endure whatever was up ahead in their journey…

I feel that as this space continues to fill up with positive, encouraging things that our kids are capable of doing, the more our season that was once very difficult to get through, can become a very happy time of year.

Rather than mourning during this time, we should celebrate. If we consciously embrace all of the things that were present then, and think of how far we’ve come as parents we can’t do anything but celebrate! Be proud of the person you’ve become since your special season came to be part of your life. Think of all the challenges you have faced, and all of the strength you’ve had to endure each one of them with confidence and ever loving commitment to your child. You’ve done things since then that you probably never dream you could do.

So this month, I will bask in the wonderful thoughts of each and every precious moment with my Olivia. Just as I will enjoy the changing colors of the leaves, I will rejoice at the thought of all the wonderful changes that have happened within me and within our entire family since she came into our world.

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