Monday, January 7, 2013

Special Friends

I found this letter the other day. It seems to capture my thoughts and feelings about all of my "Special Friends." So many of you that I have never seen face to face, and others of you that I have met because of our "Special" situations. I believe that God has given each of you to me during this season of life. Thank you for walking this road with me. May His grace be with you today as you continue the journey. 

To my special friends, Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I've searched you out everyday. I've looked for you on the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.I've become an expert at identifying you. You are well-worn. You are strongerthan you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience, experience you culledwith your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations ofthis world.

You're my "sisters." Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. Avery elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we werechosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not formonths or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to noavail. We were initiated in neurologist's offices and NICU units, inobstetrician's offices, in emergency rooms.. We were initiated with sombertelephone calls, consultations and evaluations.

All of us have one thing in common. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then,whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a fewweeks or months, our entire lives changes. Something wasn't quite right. Then wefound ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children's specialneeds. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some live in adifferent world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children'sneeds are not as "special" as our child's. We have mutual respect and empathyfor all the women who walk in our shoes.

We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever materials wecould find. We know "the" specialists in the field. We know "the" neurologists,"the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, "the" treatments. We know "the" tests thatneed to be done, we know "the" degenerative and progressive diseases and we holdour breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, wecould become board certified in neurology, endocrinology and psychiatry.We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if it means walkingaway from it. We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during "tantrums" andgritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us inline. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaningstrangers.

We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining aboutchicken pox and ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friendscan't understand what it's like to be in our sorority, and don't even want totry.

We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physicallyhandicapped children to the neighbors' front door on Halloween, and we havefound ways to help our children form words, "trick or treat". We have acceptedthat our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace onChristmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with ourwords for our children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have boughtwhite chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create afestive atmosphere for the rest of our family.

We've gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we'dmake it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how wedid it.

But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We never stop believing. Our love forour special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in like knowsno bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs.We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them plantingvegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelicvoices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors,and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at thegrace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they willaccomplish as they pass through this world.But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do, is hold tightto their little hands and together, we special mothers and our special children,reach for the stars. ♥

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