Called to Special Needs Parenthood
Photo Credit: cieleke at Star Stock Photos
Guest blogger Maggi Gale is camping out at DifferentDream.com again. Today she relates a story about an incident that showed her how to embrace her calling to special needs parenthood. Maybe her words will help you do the same.
Called to Special Needs Parenthood
We had been having breakfast when 2-year-old Lois simply fall off her chair. I could tell by the look on her face that this was a serious injury. Maybe the arm was broken. Again. How I hated these straight-backed wobbly chairs. And these African tile floors could be so unforgiving. I called the doctor on her mobile who told me to go straight to the clinic and pick up a form to take to the hospital requesting an x-ray.
Easier said than done.
We lived on the outskirts of the city because the doctor had advised us to move from the city center as Lois had suffered repeated chest infections, related to her EA/TEF condition. The cleaner air seemed to benefit her a little, but the traffic and poor roads were a terrible problem. We avoided peak traffic times at all costs. However, this time it was inescapable. Lois and I were stuck in mile after mile of bumper-to-bumper traffic over bumpy potholed roads all the way to the clinic as she nursed her broken arm. On arrival at the clinic we were greeted with those immortal words, “Do you have an appointment?”
Oh, how some doctors’ receptionists love bureaucracy. After a deep breath and inward prayer I managed to reply with a fixed smile. “My daughter has broken her arm. Please may I have the form to request an x-ray?” Form held triumphantly in my hand, we climbed back into the Land Rover for the second leg of our journey. As we wove our way to the hospital, dodging overcrowded minibuses and vendors on bikes, I tried to avoid too many bumps which would jog her arm. Finally we arrived in the hospital waiting room, Lois in agony, me all sweat and dust, feeling as if I had already done a day’s work before breakfast!
Just then, an African nun came to sit opposite us.
As I glanced at the nun, her whole morning flashed before my eyes. She would have woken up (as opposed to been woken up by her children), calmly read her Bible, perhaps sipping tea at the same time. She would have enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful, uninterrupted time of prayer with God. Yes, her face suggested that. As my imagination soared and outlined more details, a wave of pure envy swept over me. Why was my life so complicated? Wasn’t it enough that Lois was EA/TEF? Did she have to break her arm twice in 2 years, too?
Why wasn’t I a nun?
Later I related the story of my inappropriate envy to a friend. He laughed and replied, “Yes, and you would have been content as a nun for about 2 weeks.” Exactly. Whatever the actual truth of the nun’s morning routines, God had, in His wisdom, called her to that life, not me. He had called me to motherhood of 2 daughters, one of whom was EA/TEF with a tendency to break bones. Life with an EA/TEF daughter can be complicated. It seems as though my path is as bumpy and hazardous as the African roads at peak traffic time. But this is the path I am called to, so, bumps or no bumps…
…onward I go.
Have You Embraced Special Needs Parenthood?
Have you embraced special needs parenthood? If so, what enabled you to do so? If not, what holds you back? What are you struggling with? Leave a comment.
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By Maggi Gale
Maggi is a wife and mother of two daughters. She is a primary school teacher, having worked in Africa for 14 years before moving to the Middle East. Her passions are her animals and art. Her youngest daughter was born with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF). This birth condition was to be the start of an arduous journey, impacting the whole family for several years. Through writing, she hopes to turn her experiences into encouragement for others on similar paths.
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I loved this blog…it is SO good to remember that each of us is called to a unique life journey- Special needs parenting included. Some days we just need to know we are not alone, and hearing from other parents who are walking out their own unique calling is very encouraging. Thank you for sharing!
Excellent advice, Debbie. Thanks!
As the mother of a 26 year old special needs child, I can appreciate the want for normalcy or routine. There is no such thing. Embrace what you have and find those special moments known only to you and your child.
You are so right. God can handle our emotions–ones we consider good and those we consider bad. He knows how we’re feeling already, so why not let him be our safe outlet?
Accepting the challenges were hard, but God’s record is tried and true so as a Christian, I had to trust His sovereignty. I know He can handle my emotions, so I was honest in prayer and gave them to Him–sadness, anger, guilt, and praise for this calling of special needs parenting.