finding joy

Raising children with disabilities and disorders is hard, but what most people don’t consider is everything else that plays into the word “hard.” Regular life: Normal life can be stressful for so many, and us special needs parents have to play roulette with that aspect too. Work: Are you self-employed? Is your spouse self-employed? Are changes in the economy affecting you financially? Is work a source of anxiety? Relationships: are all your relationships perfect? Is there tension within your family? Are all your friendships going well? Oh, wait, when you have children with disabilities or disorders you don’t have many close friends. You’re lucky if you have one that understands when you have to cancel a coffee date. If you’re especially fortunate your one best friend is your husband.

Life is rough, life is full of heartache, but much more so when you have a child that struggles every day. You have worry, appointments, do-it-yourself therapy at home, calls to insurance companies, discussions with doctors, horrible days, days when you regret what you say or how you acted, days when you wish for more help, days when your child’s screaming and crying make you anxious and annoyed, days when you worry incessantly about your child’s food preferences (really not preferences, as children with Sensory Processing Disorder will ONLY eat certain foods), days when you worry about their future, and of course add the worries and stress of regular life throws at you.

This list is overwhelming right? It can be, and that’s why I was so relieved to find this blog post by another mom of a special needs child. She says that one of the things us special needs mommies can agree on is not feeling like we have enough help. (Big sigh of “You know what I’m feeling.”) So nice to know that others are in the struggle with me. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t define most of it as a struggle, I am probably one of the rare ones that isn’t sure I want my son’s disABILITY to disappear. I adore him, and a big part of him is his Autism. I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy who didn’t have Autism. Is it hard? Oh God, yes! So, it’s so wonderful to know we aren’t in this alone.

We have two children that fall under this special needs category, and we have been in the “warrior mode” this author mentions far too much. When negatives come into our life, it often makes already rising rapids overflow and soon there is a waterfall of mega proportions. So how do we deal with it? How do we deal with negativity from others, lack of support from family members, friends, or even our spouse? Does joy come in the morning? Without God how do we handle it?

Yes, I pray about it, but some days that torrent is suffocating, and I can’t find my way up and out. On the days when the water isn’t so murky, I focus on my little family and finding joy where I am. This post I will link to also mentions joy.

When I’m not getting the help I need or want, I am thankful we can all go through the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru and eat in the car together, or on our Anniversary we may be lucky enough to sit down as a family inside a restaurant (a loud one, and we might only down some sugar-coated fries, but I resort to a statement I fairly loath, it is what it is). On days when there isn’t a mountain of to-do’s we can relax in our backyard, letting the kids run free. We find things to do that our whole family can participate in, and it isn’t easy, believe me. When I am able I focus on the joy my kids bring me, and push those selfish, nagging thoughts off the cliff before they suffocate me even more, I have joy, I will make it through, and I am not alone.
So onward with the post I am referring to, may it buoy your spirits today as it did mine. May you find joy.
Check Your Heart…