The Truth about the Special Needs Journey
In November, I wrote a draft for a book. I’ve meant to get around to editing and revising ever since, but I can’t make myself do it. There’s something inherently wrong with what I’ve written.
I have pondered this problem for months, trying to figure out how to fix what’s broken. (Which is impossible, since I haven’t been able to find the problem.) Today it finally hit me. The book, as it is now written, attempts to tell my daughter’s story.
That story is not mine to tell.
It’s also true that I can’t tell our family’s story. I don’t know the inner thoughts and perspectives of each member of my family.
The only story I can tell is mine. The only story I know inside and out is the one I’ve lived.
So I’m going back to that manuscript, and I’m going to revise it so that it does a better job of documenting my special needs parenting journey.
I have grown and changed a lot in the past ten years. I am not the person I was before our second child was born. I have learned a lot about myself, and I believe I am stronger, more compassionate, and more kind because of everything we have been through. I am better at setting boundaries, managing my time, and standing up for myself and my children. I am less selfish, more generous, more sleep-deprived (just wanted to see if you were still reading 😉 ), more health-conscious, and more patient. Would I still have developed all these characteristics if I wasn’t walking the special needs journey? Maybe so. But would I have developed them to the same extent? Probably not.
The journey is hard, but it is mine. The perspective I can share in telling our story is my own. The struggles, pain, joy, laughter, and heartache are mine. They have shaped who I am and who I’m becoming, but I see them only through my own eyes.
When you’re overwhelmed by all the medications, advocacy, case management, therapy sessions, hospital stays, and specialist appointments, remember the truth about this journey. It’s yours, and it is shaping you into an amazing person, even as your child’s journey is shaping him.
In what ways has your journey shaped you?