I read alot about special needs. Treatments, therapies, effects on families. I read the sad blogs about what could have been and read the more uplifting ones about what good things have happened. I read posts about what families wish for their special needs child and what they wish they could change FOR their special needs child. So, truth be told, I read and read and read. But something I read just recently that made me stop and think.
I am not sure which post it was but it was about the gifts of a special needs child. As I read this, I thought of the countless times I would say to someone. “The gift of Elizabeth is…” or ” Because of Elizabeth, we can…” So this post got me thinking. If there are things we want to change FOR our child, to HELP our child, then what are the things we would NOT WANT to change.
Ohh, I can name one and it is called “GIRL DRAMA” Anyone who has had a daughter past 5th grade knows all about this thing called “girl drama” It is a dramatic, wild, ever shifting amount of emotional energy spent on watching, talking and analyzing each other. You almost need a daily memo to know who likes whom, who cannot be in a 10 foot radius of whom. and who for no reason other than it it the second Tuesday of the month is now BFF’s with whom. So…I pick that a “Something I Would Not Change” is that Elizabeth steps over and around this drama. She likes everyone and everyone likes her. Yes, a gift for sure.
Yes! another one is her empathy, She will look you in the eyes and ask if you are sad or happy, mad or glad. She will reach out to hug you when you are crying or having a bad day. I know so many neurotypical children who do not possess this level of empathy and who are not as open with their feelings as Elizabeth. So that is number two
Got it! She lives in the moment. She possesses the ability to have fun where ever she goes. We were just at Big Lots the other day and she asked me if she could jump on all the beds and run around with the cart. I kind of looked at her and she said “Remember, Emily and I did that the last time we were here” She remembered this, and wanted to have the fun she had with her sister. I, however, being the wet-blanket mom, made her help me pick pillows for the couch. But the point is, she loves life. Be it the sun and pink clouds during the sunrise or the stars and orange sky at night. She makes us all stop to enjoy the moment or smell the proverbial roses. This is a gift we should all have everyday. P.S. to this last gift…I recognize that jumping on the beds and running with the cart is not really a good thing but it made a good point,
She is kind, she is caring. She made us all better people. We see clearly the gifts of a hard fought success. We feel the joy of her joy and we feel the need to help her when she is down. We simply “FEEL” more because of her. She has taught us that it is the simple things in life that can bring you much happiness.
She loves God, and may I say, I think she has some kind of direct connection due to some of the things she says to us in very stressful times. I love this part of her!
I often think of what life would be like with three neurotypical children and I simply cannot imagine it. Elizabeth brings to our family so much. Sure, she makes us worry, think of her future and shake a bit, sad for how hard things are for her and tired…sometimes oh so tired….But then she will smile and say ” I love you, woman” and I know that all the work, all the time, all the therapies, all the efforts were worth it.
If I could, I would keep the essence of Elizabeth and take her two disorders and throw them away. I would keep the core of who Elizabeth is, as she is amazing and one of a kind.
Right now she is on the treadmill, watching TV and getting her exercise. Simply, happy. Oh and she has a small bag of Doritos waiting for her post-workout snack (Jillian Michaels would cringe at that one) Ahh! the little joys of life.
So much I would not dream of changing.
I wish everyone a peaceful week.