Like you, I have a dream. I wish for a better life for all people with special needs and those close to them. No matter what your special need is, it impacts your thoughts, your goals, your activities and your future.
I was an average pregnant mom, dreading the summer heat, spending as much quality time with my preschool son as possible, plus preparing our household for the arrival of #2. Everything was just like the book said it would be :) People would ask, "do you want a girl or boy" and we would give the standard answer, "either would be great as long as it's healthy". Hmmmmm....as long as it's healthy.......
Then our world was suddenly changed. Our son was not born healthy and we didn't know what to do next. Different doctors each gave different potential diagnoses with outcomes ranging from "he'll be fine....to...he may not make it!" We looked at him, loved him immediately and decided the truth was someplace in the middle. But where?
As we began our journey through the jungle, we became more comfortable and more confused. We realized he needed services that were not available in our hometown so I moved a state away to get him the intense therapy he needed. Our family was split in two. I remember coming home for a weekend and taking my kindergarten-aged son to a birthday party. I heard some women whispering, wondering who I was and why I was never around. If they only knew...
There is a silver lining, though, after moving back home with our new skills, our son was able to attend a special preschool and begin laughing, loving and learning like other sweet little ones his age. With other parents, we started a remote classroom in our hometown to jumpstart other preschoolers in need.
Every activity included some morsel of therapy and I became an expert at sneaking it in :) This became our new normal, and that was perfectly ok. Then, surprise, here comes child #3. "As long as it's healthy", remember? Well she was. Until age 7.
What we thought was a long-lasting stomach virus, turned into Type 1 Insulin-dependent Diabetes. When the ER doctor asked me if I knew what Diabetes was, I replied, "something to do with orange juice". I thought, it's no big deal. When someone on TV has diabetes, they just give them orange juice. We have orange juice.
Now we have orange juice, insulin, needles, syringes, glulcose tablets, test strips, blood sugar meters...ugh. Shortly after leaving the hospital, my adoring husband and I faced reality, we now have two special needs children. Different from our son, who couldn't remember life without his special need, our daughter was well aware of how different her life is now. Her emotions included insecurity, anger, embarrassment, confusion and fear (ours did too).
Fast forward to today, despite our challenges, our family agrees that each of us is a much better person as a result. We don't sweat the small stuff. We don't fight. We are overflowing with compassion. Our children are in school, working and loving life.
I know my kids will be fine and we will face whatever comes our way together. My concern is others who are somewhere on this spinning wheel trying to figure where to hop on, how to hop on and what to do once you are there. Every situation is vastly different, however what we have in common is Hope.
Wear Hope is a way for all of us to connect and feel like we can make it through the challenge in front of us. It's a statement of hope, a wish for hope or a dream of hope. Give it, wear it, share it, just remember to have Hope.
Please connect with me. Share your story. Together, we can accomplish so much.