Measuring milestones in micros sounds strange to parents of typical children. But guest blogger Kimberly Drew believes doing so is a crucial way for parents of children with special needs and disabilities to remain emotionally healthy. Measuring milestones in micros is crucial for parents’ spiritual growth, too.
Recently, our daughter Ellie had a playdate with a friend who is a month or two younger than she is. I was reminded of how hard it is to look at children who are on target developmentally in comparison to a child with special needs. It’s hard to stare at the milestones in front of you and not to feel discouraged. Ellie is going on 3 and still doesn’t sit up or stand. I have learned from raising Abbey, our older daughter with special needs, is that an age peer group is not the best standard to measure against. Once we accept where our children are, we can learn to measure them best against themselves.
For example, Abbey has a Bitty Baby she loves to play with. The doll is wearing the outfit that Ellie wore in the NICU. While Ellie is still unbelievably tiny (she wears 18 month clothes and a size 3 diaper), she is huge compared to the size she was when she came home. Also, when we adopted Ellie she came home from the NICU with a feeding tube. She still can’t eat regular food, but this morning she ate an entire carton of yogurt, which is a pretty big deal.
The reality is that our children’s successes and triumphs over their physical and cognitive limitations are best measured in micro-milestones. After many years, the micros really add up. Abbey started using the toilet at school last year, something we tried many times. She’s 16 now, and it finally clicked. While she is not reached 100% on the toilet, she goes several times a day successfully. Each time I want to cheer.
Our faith can be measured in micros as well. We can look back to when something big happened and we made huge growth in our spiritual lives. But in truth, real change happens in our daily walk with the Lord. Moment by moment, challenge by challenge, prayer by prayer we begin to slowly change. Sometimes, it takes 16 years for things to finally click. Without the micros, we would never reach milestones. I have always appreciated Galatians 6:9.
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
As I type, Ellie’s in occupational therapy. I’m watching her work hard to pull little building blocks apart and hand them to the therapist. After several times she gets it and tries to say, “I got it!”
It’s a small building block, but put together they can build quite a structure. A lifetime of daily pursuing Christ and seeking his heart leads to a life defined by character and faithfulness.
Measuring in micros matters, so don’t give up!
Kimberly grew up and went to college in the small town of Upland, IN. She graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2002. While at TU, she married her college sweetheart and so began their adventure! Ryan and Kimberly have three amazing kids on earth (Abigail, Jayden, and Cooper), and a baby boy waiting for them in heaven. Their daughter Abigail (Abbey) has multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, hearing loss, microcephaly, and oral dysphagia. She is the inspiration behind Kimberly’s desire to write. In addition to being a stay at home mom, Kimberly has been serving alongside her husband in full time youth ministry for almost fourteen years. She enjoys working with the senior high girls, scrapbooking, reading, and music. You can visit Kimberly at her website, Promises and Perspective.
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