When you have a child with special needs, it’s the small things that matter. The slightest upturn of your child’s lips is the possibility of a smile; a single step could someday hold the promise of a hundred more. We rejoice when our children mumble a word that only our skilled ears can understand and we cheer when our children struggle through simple tasks that their peers complete with ease.
Quite simply, we’ve learned that life does not follow the prescribed series of steps in books like, “What to Expect the First Year.” And we’ve learned to celebrate each and every bit of progress our children make.
Have you ever heard moms of typical children complain, “Tommy started crawling. Now I have to babyproof the house!” or “Jenny is walking. I’ll never get another moment’s rest”? These statements rock me to my very core. As a mother whose child crawled at 2, walked at 3 and talked at 4 (with extensive therapy), it’s hard for me to understand how typical development can be a curse.
It would be easy to get defensive and high and mighty with these mothers, but I don’t. This is their reality. They’ll never understand the heart wrenching struggles that Ruby and I have been through and I can’t expect them to.
But, in those struggles, parents like us have been given an amazing gift: appreciation for the small things in life, grand celebrations over milestones other parents simply take for granted, a glimpse into the true miracle of life.
I wouldn’t want my life any other way – would you?