Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Failures to Opportunities

I wanted to expand on something from my last post a little more.  The opportunity that we give to our children.  Parents of children who have special needs often times find them in a place fighting for the same things "normal" children are given.  This makes me so sad.  My day, most often, is spent on the phone or filling out some kind of paper work to ensure that my daughter has the same opportunity as everyone else in this house.  It makes me sad, especially when I hear that we are an equal opportunity country.  We have a long road to travel to get to the same playing ground for everyone.

Lydia will be a test subject in our school district (if we should stay).  They do not have early childhood education.  So, even at age two, it has been a battle to make sure things will properly be in place or at least people thinking about her transition into the school district when the time has come.  I have not had to do that with any of my other children.  See, the classrooms are set up for what they deem as "normal" and if you differ from that, there is a struggle.  Good or bad, it really does not matter, there should not be one.  She should be welcomed with open arms, just as everyone else is.  She should be given the same opportunity as Ellen and Allison are.  But it is my job to make sure that happens.

I will fight (I use this world loosely...meaning I will make sure) that all my children get every opportunity in life.  And I think that parents of special need children are looked at differently because there is not the same opportunity.  See, I don't want that label put on my child.  She can do whatever God intends her to do.  NO ONE can predetermine that.  If we label her, most likely, she will only rise to that label.  However, if we give her every opportunity, she will most likely rise way above that.  Ellen and Allison never had a label put on them.  I can ensure if you, if they did, they would only be at that level also.  As a society we are doing a HUGE dis-service to these children and to ourselves.  You see, we too miss out on the blessing of what every child has to bring to the table.  They can teach us things too if we only open our minds.

I get a bit frustrated and annoyed by this.  I don't understand why we always have to focus on their inabilities.  I have to say our therapy team has taught me a lot about that.  She can't do this, OK, she does this really well.  So we work on what she can do well and the other things follow.  Lydia then is not frustrated because she cannot do the things we are telling her to do.  She is only going to do the things she knows to do, the things she wants to do (she is very determined and stubborn and she knows what she wants to do!).  Who am I to come in and tell her to do something different?  I never told Ellen and Allison what to do, they just learned in on their own.  Eventually it came.

Sorry, I was getting a little off topic, but it really bothers me.  I do think that from every failure we have, there is an opportunity.  I have used this as a lesson several times with Ellen and Allison.  I do be believe they are better because of it.  They ask why I am on the phone so much, why there is so much paperwork, why this and why that.  I am open with them and I talk to them about it.

I have overheard Ellen talking to her peers about Lydia when they ask questions.  She talks and communicates better than most adults.  You see, Lydia is not different to her, it is just how she was created.  Ellen sees no difference in that.  She is able to talk to them about how she helps her sister out and how many lessons her sister has taught her.  She has told her peers that Lydia is no different than her, she just learns at a different pace.

When Lydia gained weight yesterday, Ellen simply said, I had a part in that.  Yes, yes, she did.  She helps feed Lydia and she is involved in pretty much every aspect of her life.  I think it is wonderful to involve the kids and really make them understand.

I can do that with my parenting to the other girls also.  I fail so many times.  We talk about it and we pray about it.  We talk about the sins mommy needs to work on and the sins the girls need to work on.  We pray together and we read the Bible.  We hold one another accountable for our actions.  We speak the truth in love.  Lydia has helped our family to do this by being who she is, by opening our eyes to a world that we were blind to.

We are not perfect people, never will be.  But you see the beauty is that from every failure there is an opportunity.  From every situation of hurt and grief, heartache and sorrow we have a choice to let it weigh us down or be an opportunity for us.  It is up to us.

Many people said that Lydia is a failure, was a mistake.  I say you are wrong, but there is an opportunity in her.  I would have to say that she has definitely lived up to that.  She has impacted lives, she has changed me, she has made her sisters better people, she has brought joy to other people's lives.  She is an inspiration.  She is just the opportunity that our family needed.

I have to say that this post went a lot different in my head, but hopefully you get my point.  Even from our messed up society there is a huge opportunity, a huge learning curve.  I am blessed to be part of that.  Hopefully along the way Lydia and our family can make an impact somewhere.  We can teach others some of the lessons we have learned.  We can teach others about their opportunities from failures (and on a side note, never once did I think Lydia was a mistake, but I know that others in society think that).  If we are not learning we are not growing and we are not improving ourselves.  We are but clay in the Potter's Hand, learning to be shaped and molded according to His plan.

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