Hope and Gratitude for Special Needs Moms on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is here once again.  The feelings and emotions that come with this day are overwhelming.  Take your pick…. I rotate a zillion feelings on a daily basis.

Maybe today it will be the unconditional love for my daughter.  All the warm and fuzzy stuff that will never fade.  Or will it be the pure exhaustion I feel from helping her every step of the way?   Just one day off?  I need a week!

Maybe today I’ll feel guilty for neglecting my typical kids or for not treating them the same way as I do my special needs daughter.  I spoil her, according to my other kids.  Little do they understand the day to day struggles Marley has had in her short life.

Perhaps today, I’ll feel frustrated from the lack of support or because there never seems to be enough time, money or help for all that this life demands of me.  Another allergen free dinner?  Who has time to shop for, plan and make all this food?  And don’t get me started on the cost of it all.  Yet, still I cook…

Could it be that today I’ll feel overwhelmingly proud of all that my daughter has struggled to accomplish? Everything that I was told was impossible.  This child has proved them all wrong.   

Or maybe today will be tough.  I’ll just feel inadequate.  Or jealous of others.  My life will never be the same as theirs.  Or frustrated and angry with the world for the unfairness of it all.

Whatever I feel today, I know that it is okay to feel these things. It is normal.  But I always want to end the day feeling grateful.  On the days that it seems there is not a lot to be grateful for, I search for something and focus on it.  I share it.  I let people see my hope.  Some days, there is a multitude of things to be grateful for.  And as the years pass and my daughter heals and I learn lessons from this life, I find there is more and more gratitude.

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When my daughter with autism and left hemiparesis cerebral palsy was small, I kept a journal of her progress.  A daily reminder to me of where we were and where we were going.  If she regressed, the notes for the day were of what we could trial to alleviate her symptoms.  My plan based on research.  New doctors to potentially see.  New therapies to explore.  Books to read.

My progress journal started as a way for me to track her progress and behaviors, but as I look back though the entries years later, I see that I was cheering her on in my writing.  I can also see how very hard our life was and how very sick my daughter was but I was keeping hope alive in my writings to myself.

You see, a mother doesn’t give up hope.  She can’t.  She will do her best to find a way to make it better.  Against all odds, she will work as hard as possible to try and relieve her child’s struggles.  Sometimes she will succeed and sometimes she will fail, but she will always try.

And in the end, she will find gratitude in it all.
Happy Mother’s Day!
-Kelly

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