Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A Different Life?
Do you think parenting a child with a disability has changed you? Small changes or big changes?
After I wrote my blog entry on my trip to the virtual future, I started wondering if that future would look completely different had I not been raising children with disabilities. And, I most definitely think it would.
I would be less patient. I would not be as assertive. I would still be very uncomfortable speaking in front of people, yet now I really enjoy sharing my story with people. I don’t believe I would find enjoyment in the smallest of things this world has to offer – real enjoyment, I mean – where I would take the time to notice every detail of the hummingbird in my back yard, for example. I would think “Oh, a hummingbird, and then turn my attention to something else. In fact, now I seek out the details and the beauty that can be found all around me. Ashley has taught me that.
I would still be voting as a Republican where now my commitment is to the Democratic Party. I would probably be uncomfortable with people of different abilities and not able to see the worth of everyone that didn’t fit the same mold from which I was raised. I might be one of the parents I see and hear in my children’s schools who don’t understand why a child with different abilities needs to be in “my” child’s regular education setting.
I might believe that my life was good never knowing how much better it actually could be. I wouldn’t understand that people can communicate without ever saying a word. I might not celebrate my child’s smallest achievements expecting even more and only celebrating the biggest ones. I would have time to exercise and take care of myself, and I might have been able to take the gourmet cooking class I wanted to take.
I definitely wouldn’t know that camellias and pansies are edible and what they taste like. I probably would never have heard of a nebulizer or a G-tube. I would sleep at night – all night – without getting up to see if my children were still breathing. And, I would never have met the hundreds of very special adults and children that I now consider my friends.
Yes, my life might have been easier. I might not have been as stressed or tired as I seem to almost always be these days. My life would, however, be like eating no-fat frozen vanilla yogurt instead of the Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby that I so enjoy.
I am grateful for every second of my life and everything good or not so good that it brings. I like the person I am today, and I’m not sure I could have said that had I not been the parent I am with the children I have.
What about you?