I keep thinking about blogging more and I've written many posts (in my head)... But this thought struck me as I was wasting time on Facebook. Having a special needs child is not the worst thing in this life. It's not the end of the world. I will admit, at first, it seems like it might be the end of the world, but you get used to it and you learn things you never would have learned before.
I grieve. I grieve what I wanted my children to be and do. I get a little upset when I realize that Zach should be sitting in my class of 7th graders and he is not... But I have dreamed new dreams for my boys.
A little while ago, I had a conversation with someone and I mentioned that I get upset about things my kids are missing out on. But I realize that they don't know what they are missing; I'm missing it for them and why am I upset if they aren't? They don't realize that they aren't going to slumber parties. They don't realize that they don't have an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. They don't realize that they should have piles of homework or have to take some ridiculous civics test to pass 7th grade. So if they aren't upset, why am I?
My boys have a pretty good life. They don't have everything they want, but they have everything they need. They travel, they've been to Disney, they get bored, they get in trouble, they have parents who love them, food on the table, a roof over their heads, and electronics. They are told "no", they are told "yes", they are loved, they are cherished, they are happy. In fact, they are down right joyful. How many tweeners do you know who are full of joy? I work with them and I can say in all honesty that they aren't all full of joy - some are, but not all. My kids aren't bullied, my kids aren't teased, my kids have innocent friendships. They don't have boy/girl drama, no cyber-bullying, no drugs (well, do seizure and ADHD drugs count?), and they don't have negative peer pressure. Not a bad deal...
So I will be the first to admit that I did not sign up for parenting special needs children, and I would love to know what it's like to parent a "typical" child. But this life isn't the end of the world. At the end of the day, I have children who love me and are loved. What more could a parent ask for?
Late at night when I couldn't sleep, I used to blame myself. Was it the Tylenol I took? Was it the processed food I ate? Was it the cleaning supplies I bought at the big box store? That sounds crazy, right? But what else am I supposed to think when I read the "research".
I can drive myself crazy and eliminate every toxin in my environment, make every meal from scratch, and second guess every product and choice that I make.
Or... I could do the best I can to provide the best options for my kids and treat myself with grace. I'm not advocating that we clean with carcinogens, but isn't there some balance we need to achieve? Perhaps I'm feeling defensive or want to justify my choices... But I've endured enough judgmental comments that I bristle easily when this topic comes up.
Kids with special needs have a specific purpose for their lives - just like every other person on this planet. And I'm reminded that my special needs kids have touched people in ways that typical children might not be able to. So I'm the lucky that my world didn't end when we discovered that our kids have developmental delays, low tone, seizures, and are intellectually disabled. Even though I would love to have a diagnosis, my out of the box kids are the beginning of a world only a few are privileged enough to be a part of.