Friday, November 25, 2011

Why I am Grateful I Have a Special Needs Child

A Guest Post on Closer to Lucy:     

During this time of year, our thoughts and hearts turn toward gratitude. I was very grateful and honored when Lucy asked me if I’d like to guest post. We have several things in common: We love to laugh, we love God, and we know what it is like to have a special needs child.

I never thought I’d give birth to a child. After years of infertility, several surgeries, and a miscarriage, Sarah was born as I turned forty. She was seven weeks premature weighing 3 lbs. 6 oz. Sarah is developmentally delayed and has a seizure disorder – yet she is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

I had a dream before I knew I was pregnant. In the dream I saw a baby with a tiny tuft of hair on her head. A few weeks later, I decided to take a home pregnancy test. My husband and I were amazed that it tested positive. After Sarah was born, I realized that she was the baby in my dream. My Heavenly Father was letting me know that I was pregnant and a gift was on the way.

Why? Why Me? Why Her?

I used to ask these questions about Sarah’s disabilities. For those of you who know people with seizures disorders, you know that often there is no known reason as to the cause – and there is no cure. Many people are helped with medication. Sarah was not helped with numerous medicines, but seems to be doing better now that she has a Vagus Nerve Stimulator.

Sarah is now twenty-one. I don’t wonder “Why?” anymore. I am just thankful for Sarah. These are the gifts my daughter has given me: Hugs, kisses, numerous trips to zoos, many zoo train rides, swimming even though I don’t look great in a suit, swinging in the park as a senior citizen, pausing to appreciate simple things in life like homemade waffles, decorating cookies, reading scriptures together, going to bed early not worrying where she is or what she is doing, hearing “I love you” every night after we say our prayers, sliding down a water park slide, wearing Halloween costumes, meeting other moms of special needs people forming a support group of friendship, years of learning about animals, too many pets to count, puzzles, achieving dreams (becoming a teacher and writing a book), working in the church nursery alongside Sarah, patience, devotion, empathy, and compassion.

Sarah can’t think of a thing she wants for Christmas. Dan and I can’t either. We’ll decorate the tree together and enjoy spending time looking at it. Dan will put his train under the tree for the grandchildren to enjoy. There will be gifts for the grandchildren – and for Sarah since she is “forever young.” We’ll bake my mother’s Christmas cookie recipe. It takes three of us. I make the dough, Dan rolls out the dough, and Sarah cuts and decorates the cookies. It is our family tradition. We’ll spread them around to neighbors and friends. I don’t want, or need, any gifts. I already have mine.

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I have a chapter titled “The Special Education Experience” in my Kindergarten book along with Fun Friday Food ideas  for each letter of the alphabet.

Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Moms of Preschoolers - let Mommy with Selective Memory and me help save your sanity, one project at a time with the child development explanations with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The ebooks are only $3.99.

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  1. It's late Sunday night, but I'm finally finding time to hop with Lucy and Sam! I'm a follower!

  2. Great! I love blog hopping. So many amazing blogs. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. It was great to find your interesting site in Today at Play Link up. Please drop back in sometime and link up any play ideas, as, believe it or not, it goes all year.

  4. I am in a bit of a emotional state now. Your writing reminds me of my elder son who is a great artist now- he once struggled with learning and faced harassment, humiliation, etc., for his inability to recognize letters and numbers. He was the butt of a lot of jokes for his classmates. I am really proud of him, as he had enough guts to sustain the criticisms and jibes and stand on his own. Thanks Susan, for such a wonderful post!

  5. Thank you for writing that. Many people do not understand the gifts and joy that special needs people give. There have been many difficult times but so many rewards too. People who belittle someone else are expressing their own insecurities and exposing their faults. Everyone has something to contribute. So happy your son found his artistic gift. I'm sure you helped him by being supportive and encouraging.

  6. Tirtza - I clicked on your link but not sure how to contact you so hope you read this. I just read two amazing books that you might enjoy. They were written in 1990's but author recently made them available on Kindle for only $.99. I don't know that you can find them unless used or in library. "Touched by Angels" and "A Prince for Jenny" written by Peggy West (author of 65 books). They are so touching especially the sequel "A Prince for Jenny" explaining her special gifts and how she experiences her world. Very sweet story. I hope you can find them.

  7. Thanks Susan for following me. I am now following you. I enjoyed reading your post. I feel very blessed to be teaching the children that I do.


  8. Susan, thank you for following me, and suggesting your blog article for me to read! I enjoyed hearing about the things that brighten your days, as a parent:) As a teacher, I love the little moments where my students initiate a reciprocal conversation, sit quietly when they are mad (instead of screaming swear words at me), giving a hand made necklace, while cooking hold the bowl while another stirs (without prompting), etc. These moments make my day:) Thank you again for sharing!


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