Some days are just exhausting. There always seem to be so much to do and never enough time to do it. Even for me; a stay at home mom. There always seem to be bonbons left in the container to eat or one more show on that I want to watch (Just Kidding...some humor to add to my day that is oh so gloomy). But there is a lot of stuff to get done and it never seems like you have the time to do the important stuff, you know just snuggling with your kids, just having fun with them.
Raising a child with special needs is no different at all. The journey is different, yes, but the duties are no different. Have you loved your child today? Have you taught them about God? Have you demonstrated unconditional love? Have you taught them about forgiveness? To me, those are really the basics that we need and the rest will come as it should.
This weekend I had the honor of speaking at an event for the Ronald McDonald House. It was quite an amazing event. However, afterwards many people came up to talk to me. I felt very uncomfortable. They were telling me that I was inspirational, it was the best speech they had heard, that I was an amazing mom. As good as that was making my ego feel (hey, I have to be honest) it made me rather uncomfortable. I just shared my story. I am no different than you, and I would pray that you would make the same choice to love your child, no matter what.
One conversation in particular stuck with me though. As she was talking she said how do I manage all of the information? How do you pick and choose what to do? Aren't people always telling you what to do and judging you? I manage information by binders which I seldom refer back to, I pick and choose by trial and error, and yes people are always willing to tell me what worked for them in their situation and it does feel like some days people are judging a lot more.
I enjoy cooking. Some days I wish I had more time to do it, but I enjoy doing it. Each dish that I make is only as good as the recipe. Each dish that you prepare you probably add or delete an ingredient or two. I often do this because there are certain flavors that I enjoy more than others. Sometimes it may be too hot for one of my children or a flavor that they are not particularly fond of.
But how do you choose a recipe? I often do by looking at the dish. Sometimes I read through the ingredients to see if there are a lot of steps. Sometimes I do by the amount of ingredients (and what is in my cupboards at the time). Sometimes a friend or a family member has passed on the recipe. Sometimes I heard about it from someone at church. Sometimes it is a dish that someone else has prepared for me. I think you get the point. There are so many ways to choose.
What do you do when you have the recipe, when you are making it? I ALWAYS add, modify, delete some how. I cannot follow a recipe. If I do, it never turns out. I put my own touches on it. I look at it and decide that this does not fit for my family and I make it fit. I look at it and see if I can substitute another ingredient for one that I do not have. And when it is done, it is not always like the recipe; but it is mine. I have created a masterpiece of my own that fits my families tastes and preferences.
To me, parenting is a lot like that. Actually life is much like that. I talk to people, search out support groups, read information, read blogs, read books, talk to the professionals. I do what I can to seek out the information. I ask questions. Once I have gathered that, I process what works best for my family. I change and adapt according to ability level, the size of the room....you get it.
This concept is so easy, yet we all tend to forget it. If everything was a cookie cutter recipe, there would be no variation. The fact is you can give out a recipe for the same sugar cookie and every one will come back different. Some will be decorated differently, some will have used real butter while some use margarine, some will have real vanilla, while others have imitation vanilla. None of them are wrong, just different. They are modified to what works best for one person.
We are like this as humans and I think it is always a good reminder. I do what works best for my family. I am always more than happy to offer the suggestions that work best for my family, but it is what works best for my family. Just as we found in medicine things that worked with Lydia were completely off the path from what should have worked. Just like how I parent Ellen and Allison and Lydia; they all require a different type.
I am not special because I have a special needs child, I am adapting to my situation as I pray everyone would. I think life would be a much simpler way if we all remembered this. We should not push our views and our ideas down other people's throats, we should pick and choose what works best for us. We should be willing to offer but not pushy. We should not compare ourselves to others, because we do what is best for us in our circumstance, while they are doing the same thing for them. Life is full of choices (have you been on pintrest recently to see all of the different recipes?) and we all have the ability to make choices for ourselves. Respect one another.
I do what is best for my family and I am counting that you do the same thing. Tough lesson to learn sometimes, but oh so important. This is a great reminder of me as I get stressed out sometimes when people have a different idea of how to accomplish something, of how to help in a certain situation. Pick the perfect recipe for your family, even if you must modify!