Changed Perspective and Parenting Kids with Special Needs

Ellen Stumbo's changed perspective is the topic of today's guest post. Today she shares her most recent perspective shift about her kids with special needs.

The longer guest blogger Ellen Stumbo parents her daughters, the more her perspective about special needs changes. Today she’s here with a new shift in her perspective about her children and herself.

Changed Perspective

She was loud and off key. I thought about closing the window to muffle the sound, only to realize the window was closed. I watched her through the glass pane; earplugs in, iPod in hand, swinging. My husband was tucked away in a corner of the courtyard reading a book.

There goes Andy’s peaceful time outside.

It was our first morning back at the Ronald McDonald House after waiting several days for an open room. Before that, we were staying at a hotel that was undergoing loud, really loud, renovations. With two children with sensory processing issues, the calm of the Ronald McDonald House was a nice welcome for all of us.

After breakfast, Andy decided to go outside to the courtyard for some much needed alone time and quiet. He’d found alone, but not quiet.

My oldest daughter came to the window.

“Who’s that mom?”

“I don’t know.”

“Does she have special needs?”

In our family, this is a pretty normal question. “Yes, I think she does.”

“Do you know what her special need is?”

“No.”

“What is she singing?”

“Hmmm…I am not sure.”

“I think she likes to sing.”

“Yes, I think so too.”

Ellie returned to her sisters, who watched Sponge Bob. I stayed by the window, watching the young lady sing and swing. Sometimes, she seemed to close her eyes while she sang, like she could feel the music inside of her and it was pouring out. I smiled.

I’m a terrible singer. Enough people have joked with me about my singing abilities, and others have skipped the joking and let me know I should stick to dancing.

[box] But like that young girl, I can feel the music,and sometimes, I just want to sing out loud. But I care too much about what other people think. I am held back by my own insecurities and inhibitions.[/box]

I had a changed perspective, because I wasn’t looking at a girl with special needs who sings loud and off key; I was looking at a girl who was so free, so full of life in that very moment, that it made me wish I could be more like her.

[box] Somehow, I pictured God looking down at her and smiling, because her joy was so real. I wished I could reach out and touch it, feel the joy in my hands, hold it close. I wondered how many times I have held back from really enjoying life. How many times do I really allow myself to be fully me?[/box]

That is the reality of raising children with special needs. They give us a changed perspective, because we come to recognize what really matters. And we begin to see the real beauty and value of life through those that most of the world would describe as “broken.”

If only we could see our own brokenness just as clearly.

And if only we could enjoy life just as freely.

Andy returned to the room after an hour.

“Did you hear that girl singing?” He asked.

“Yes I did.”

“It was beautiful.”

“Yes, yes it was.”

We looked at each other and smiled. Because it was true.

It was beautiful.

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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