What Having A Special Needs Child Has Taught Our Family

What Having A Special Needs Child Has Taught Our Family

The lessons learned have been incredibly amazing and it is not until you allow yourself to stop and think, cry and ponder, laugh and remember, that you realize you are no longer the same person as before. You have become a beautiful butterfly.

1. Empathy

I thought we were pretty good on this one, until I realized we weren’t. The vantage point we have all gained has been one of a real life example and when we talk kindness and including others, we close our eyes and picture our Amos.

2. Feel All the Feels

Again, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve but truthfully was more of a “grin and bare it” type. To allow feelings of sadness, grief, fear, and the likes of those has been so very difficult in the moment but like a rainstorm, my inner self has never been more cleansed and happily expunged of so many hurts, all paper-clipped together, that I had tucked away.

3. Perfection Can Look Different

We think Amos is perfect. I mean, we really do. In the safety of our own home, with our small tribe of six people, he is just one more perfectly wonderful piece and we have no qualms with his abilities or lack of abilities. It’s the big world that is the trouble.

4. Kindness

To be kind, truly kind, is a skill or character trait that I think very few have mastered. I’m not sure if we have, but the way we have noted unkindness makes us think we are truly on the right path of being kinder souls.

5. Being Honest

Be honest. Share the hard truths and the beautiful truths and you will find they are woven together in a way that you can’t have one without the other. I wish I had known more of what families like my own now were going through, the good, bad and yes, even the ugly. To share the gifts of our journeys may be the most important part.

6. Cry

Oh, yes. Cry and cry and cry some more. All of us, myself, husband, our two older sons. We have shed tears over Amos and with that allowance, we have learned to shed tears of the minor scrapes and bruises and the beautiful every day experiences that used to zoom past us. Our hearts are near experts now at catching the snippets of loveliness and unspilled tears from joyous moments happen every single day.

7. Let Things Go

What a relief. This new life requires time and energy that most days I am not sure I have, but the flip side to this is that I have learned to be wise in how I use the limited resources. No more micromanaging homework, laundry being put away, well-kempt children, a meticulous house, all happy ashes now.

8. Today is Where You Are

This has been one of the biggest revelations for me. I have always been a planner and truly never could even fathom those that said they just lived day by day. That concept seemed preposterous to me and now, I get it. Maybe life was easier before and it made it possible but I really don’t think so. I think now we are soaking up the days as we live them in real time and to ponder future events just takes the time today that we have learned to love.

9. Perspective

Oh, the perspective from where we are, even this early in the journey, has been like flying above the treetops on a magical Fall day in the mountains. How had I not known so much of what has traveled with our beautiful Amos? Perspective in every literal meaning of the word has washed over each of us and what a gift.

10. Life Is Not A Script

It’s not. I never really thought it was, but I must have, to some degree. When my brother died so very long ago, my still child’s mind decided that everyone must have one tough thing in life and at least, mine had happened early. Oh, what if that were true. I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t when my best friend died of cancer just three years later. Having Amos has thrown a wrench in our plans, the life we were leading for his arrival. It was easier to be truthful but we were just swimming on top of the water. Diving below has been frightening and hard, required stamina and countless hours of work, but the beauty in the deep has been far more wonderful.

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