As many of you may already know, I am the mom to one of the most precious little boys in the world. He is a special needs child since he became disabled almost two and a half years ago. This makes me a “special needs mom”. But did you know that this title also stretches to encompass our entire family, making us a “special needs family”?! I say that only because when one of your children is handicapped in some way, it affects the whole family, not just the parent(s).
Naturally, my life has changed drastically. My list of things to do have increased dramatically and my hat wardrobe has grown tremendously! ( I think I may have to delegate them a closet of their own! Lol) This is all par for the course though. I change as my children’s needs change. Alana , on the other hand, should not have had to change her life quite as much. But she has. The things we do at home to make life more comfortable for Caleb follows her in her daily routine. For instance, we have found out that if we announce (for Caleb’s benefit) that we are going to open a can of soda, the noise does not startle Caleb; whereas if we just open it, the noise will cause him to nearly jump out of his skin! We mentally prepare him to be expecting something. In the lunchroom at school one day,( in her domain, not home) Alana announced to the other students that she was going to open her drink! Yep, she got a lot of laughs from that one!
Other changes are not quite so humorous though. She rarely invites friends over because she is not sure how they will take her little brother’s howls and sirens. It is also almost impossible to watch a movie if he is one of his “moods”. Lights out at our house starts at 9:00pm. Not a popular bedtime for sixteen year olds! Yet Alana never complains. She schedules her work hours around Caleb’s schedule. She tries to make sure she is here to help me if my husband is at work. She declines invitations to parties and camps because she doesn’t want to miss being with our family. Experiencing what happened to Caleb has made us all more aware of how short life is and the tragedy of missed opportunities.
Yes, all of our lives have changed. But I don’t necessarily take that as a bad thing. I am thankful for all the chances we have been given to grow in compassion to one another and acceptance of those that are different. This journey has drawn my family closer, not just to our Heavenly Father, but to each other. I am gracious indeed to be a special needs family!
Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – Proverbs 17:17 (The Message)
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