When you have a kid with special needs or disabilities, you think about things that you never thought you would think about. Logan didn’t walk until he was almost two, he didn’t talk until he was almost three. At 11 he still sounds like he has marbles in his mouth when he talks, and I think it is starting to bother him a bit more when his family and his peers don’t understand him on the first try. He has to work so much harder than his brothers and his classmates at everything he does, reading, math, writing, sports, speech, motor skills, etc. There are so many things that I take for granted because I don’t even think about doing them, I just do them. I never had to worry about motor planning, a trembling hand, or low muscle tone. My childhood wasn’t spent going to occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, or neurologists. Nobody ever had to teach me how to crawl. I didn’t have to squeeze putty or do midline exercises or practice holding a pencil correctly. I never think about the steps the body and mind goes through to do something like write a paper(which to me comes naturally), but for my kid, it is such a multi-step process involving coming up with the idea, formulating what you want to say, forming the letters in the correct direction, remembering what you wanted to say next because your memory is affected by your disability, and fingers and hands becoming fatigued because of low muscle tone. And yet when all of this seems exhausting and frustrating to me for him, this is just normal life for him, and do you know what? He is amazing at it, and I am his biggest fan.
This boy of ours has accomplished so much this school year. In October he came home and announced that he was running for student council as a class representative. He wrote a speech. He gave his speech. He is now a class representative for his 5th grade class.
In November he competed at his karate school’s fall tournament in sparring. He fought in 21 matches against 6 opponents. We watched him win, and win, and win, each time with the look of shock and excitement on his face. Out of 21 matches he won 17, only losing 4, which gave him 1st place in his division.
Only a few weeks later, on the day before Thanksgiving, he ran a Turkey Trot at his school, 1.2 miles, which he trained for. He never stopped, never gave up, and although he didn’t place, he finished at the top of his class, making him a winner in my book, (especially seeing as he didn’t learn to walk until he was almost 2).
I’ve been a little stressed to say the least when I think about his transition to middle school in the fall. I wonder how will he manage his schedule? Will he remember where his classes are or will he get lost and overwhelmed? Will his peers all fall into place and will he be left behind? Will he struggle more academically as the work gets harder? How will he cope emotionally with all of these changes that are coming? But then I see this confident, compassionate boy and I think, it will all be ok, he will be ok. In this life, we win and we lose. Sure he has to work harder at winning, at succeeding, at accomplishing his goals, he might always have to. And that’s ok because it has built him into a fiercely independent kid who has more perseverance than anyone I know. ANYONE! It doesn’t matter if it takes him longer or if he has to take a different route to get to where he’s going than everyone else around him, as long as he is given the tools and the supports that he needs to succeed.
So to all you moms and dads raising kids with special needs or disabilities-no matter what it is… I know it is hard, tiring, lonely, and often times heart breaking. This very well might be the hardest thing we ever do, but it also is probably the best as well. Mordechai told Esther in the book of Esther that she may have been born for such a time as this. And in the book of Romans chapter 5 we see that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. In this season of raising our kids, they are not the only ones growing, we are too. And growing can be painful, for them and for us. It is no mistake or coincidence that I am mom to my three boys. God chose me, he made my three boys and gave them to me for a reason. It is only with his help and his love that I can keep going, keep advocating, keep listening, keep encouraging, and most of all keep loving.