Hello, Different Dream readers. Would you join me in welcoming Brittany Miller as a new guest blogger? She’s mom to three daughters: Audrey, Brooke, and Juliette. Brooke was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome when she was five weeks old. Brittany introduces herself with this post about the special needs sacrifices she hasn’t made raising Brooke and her sisters.
The Life you Gain, Not the Special Needs Sacrifices
You have all heard the word. In other words,
all such serious proclamations of who we are as special needs parents. Everyone I meet comments about how wonderful I am because I sacrifice SO much of myself to raise my special needs daughter. It is like instantly they feel obligated to glorify my job as the Mother. You all know what I mean.
Insert chuckle here.
Meanwhile, today is any normal day in the life of a special needs mom for me, not anything unique or special about it. While the comment is well intended and I am touched by their praise, the word sacrifice or giving up so much has always bothered me. Giving up just doesn’t do justice to the world of wonder I have gained as a special needs mother, and a typical mother. Because of these miracle children bestowed to me, I get to see life with a clearer, more purposeful view, I get to cherish the little moments and glory in the milestones. No matter how small! While life is about giving of yourself to your children, I want to focus now on what I have gained.
- Everything is so exciting! Even the smallest little milestone is cause for a party, and our whole family gathers round to relish in the news. When my special needs daughter first learned to laugh it was the talk of the neighborhood for several weeks after.
- Family time is meaningful. When you recognize your time may be limited, spending time together really does matter.
- You become the most knowledgeable you ever have been. Since becoming Brooke’s mom I have learned a wealth of knowledge about how the brain works, sensory issues, medical terms, medications, therapies, doctor specialties, medical equipment, state programs, nursing, caregiving…the list goes on. I feel like a nurse, doctor, mother, teacher, caregiver, advocate rolled into one complex woman. It is overwhelming but also empowering.
- You gain a family. This one is dear to me, since being initiated into this special world, we have met and connected with incredible people. Parents who are examples to me daily. Who fight for their children, love them deeply, and show us that happiness is possible when raising a special needs child. Therapists and teachers who have a special love and devotion to our amazing children, we could not raise our kids without them!
- You can help others. I love being on the other end now, the mother who can give advice to the newly diagnosed family. I am so happy to be able to give back, give comfort, and advice on what to do when this new life is confronting them. We have all been that shocked mother. As time goes on we can find joy in this calling and help others do the same. This is a priceless gift.
- We get a little piece of heaven in our home every day. Not many families can truly say that. The sweet innocence of special needs children is that they are perfect. The spirit of love is ever present and it has changed our family for the better.
- Children with special needs create compassion in parents. Suddenly the fears you once had about others who are different, you get to see in a new light. Having a child with special needs helps me see the world in a more beautiful view, to celebrate and not fear others with disabilities.
- Having a child with special needs molds typical siblings into amazing, compassionate people. Seeing the maturity and selflessness that comes when your other children serve their special needs sibling is like no other miracle in the world… enough said here.
- You truly find out what you are made of. Being a parent of a child with disabilities is no easy task. It pushes us to our limits, takes us places we never wanted to be in. We learn, adapt and grow in this experience in ways we could not do otherwise. I have always said being a special needs parent is the most amazing club I never wanted to be a part of but am in for the lifetime membership.
Truly, I could go on for days about the benefits I have gained being Brooke’s mother. It is about sacrifice but more about blessings.
The reality is, that is part of the deal. More importantly, let us all focus more intently on the life we have gained, not given up. Sometimes, if you let it, you can feel like you have hit the heavenly jackpot–even when it is hard.
Children remind us to treasure the smallest of gifts, even in the most difficult times.
~ Allen Klein
Your Gains and Special Needs Sacrifices?
What have you gained on your parenting journey. What special needs sacrifices have you made? Tell us about them in the comment box. Then, hop on over to Brittany’s blog to learn more about life with Brookie the Brave.
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