Before I became a mother I remember imagining what it would be like. I also remember thinking how awful it would be to have a child with special needs. I felt sorry for the men and women I saw in public with kids with Downs Syndrome, in wheel chairs or with any of those sort of needs. I KNEW that I would never be able to handle having a child with those types of needs.
Now that I am a mother and a mother of special needs child I get those same pitiful looks that I once gave to special parents years ago. I don’t want any pity though. Justin and I are very happy. Tyler and Carter and very happy. Tanner is very happy. WE are very happy.
Often I hear family and friends say “I don’t know how you do it” or “I wish this wouldn’t have happened to you.” They often seem surprised by my responses to these comments. Of course we have challenging moments. What family doesn’t. Our challenges are just different than other families. AND although it does effect us nothing happened to me……Tanner is the one with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and if Tanner is always happy and smiling……why shouldn’t I?
My attitude has obviously changed a lot about having a special needs child. I think most people would surprise themselves if they were given a special child. You do what you have to do. I think the part that my family and friends are most proud of Justin and I for is how we handle it. People cope with things different ways. In our particular situation (after getting a grasp on Tanner’s diagnosis and going through those stages of grief) we decided to do this with a smile and with a positive attitude which makes it easier for everybody involved.
My niece, Syndey, gave me a small painting for my birthday just a 2 months after Tanner was born that reads “If your handed it, you can handle it”. I truly believe that. I think there are parents out there that do not believe that. They feel cheated and lost in this journey. You really must make your lemonade if God gives you lemons. If you constantly complain that you wanted orange juice you will never truly be happy.
Don’t get me wrong. I have bad days…usually if Tanner has a bad day. On those days I always try to remember that there are people out there worse off than us. I feel blessed that Tanner smiles at me, laughs with me and that he has the capability to progress developmentally!!!! Some children cannot show that they love you, some cannot flash a smile and some cannot progress…even at a delayed pace.
I guess these are my words of encouragement to those struggling in this journey or to those that may be faced with similar challenges in the future.


6 Responses to I choose to smile:)

  1. Ross says:

    Thanks Jessica, this post really resonates with me. “If you’re handed it, you can handle it” – so true. Isn’t it amazing how what you might previously have thought of as an unthinkable scenario quickly becomes a happy norm!

  2. JillH says:

    Tanner is adorable 🙂 I aslo like the quote, before I had Peyton I didn’t think that I could ever handle a child with special needs either but now can’t imgaine life without him.

  3. Katie says:

    Amen! I feel exactly the same way. And whenever we’re having a bad day, I too always remind myself that there are those who face more challenging circumstances than we do with Taylor, so I cannot complain.

  4. Shannon says:

    So perfectly said, Jessica! I feel the same! And Tanner is so so cute in his glasses! I love his smiling face!

  5. Heather says:

    So well said, Jessica. I really have had the same thoughts as you described, from before my son was born when I would feel sorry for special needs parents and think I could never do it myself… to now having really no problem with it. It’s just our life. And you’re right… the attitude is everything.

  6. Keri says:

    I do not have a special needs child, but I grew up with a special needs cousin…and today I met an amazing woman with a 32 year old daughter with wolfhirschhorn syndrome. She models strength and character to me as do each of you and I just wanted to share that with you. I had never heard of this syndrome, but have shared what I learned today with several people. Thanks for sharing your lives.

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