It's OK

by Emily Minich

This is for all my fellow special needs moms.

Lately I've been having a lot of bad days. Some days I don't want to get out of bed. Some days I avoid therapy because I don't want to see anyone and I feel like it hasn't accomplished everything I wish it had anyway. Some days I wish I drank. Some days I wish I had a maid and a bigger house with room to store all these medical supplies. Some days I wish everyone knew my heart and knew how I felt without me having to explain it. Some days I wish people knew what to say to me. Some days I wish I had a normal family. Some days I wish normal weren't a dirty word in the special needs community. Some days I wish my daughter didn't need a wheelchair. Some days I wish my son didn't have mental health issues. Some days I wish my other son were emotionally stable. Some days I wish my husband didn't have cerebral palsy.

And it's ok. It's ok for me to feel these things. Feeling these things doesn't mean I am unhappy or that I hate my life. It doesn't mean I'm not thankful.

I love my life.

I'm SO thankful.

God answered my prayers for a husband and children, a home, and everything we need to fill it.

We have all the material things we need.

But emotionally... some days I wish I had a normal life. A husband who could drive himself to work and who didn't have to struggle getting everything done. Sons who didn't have multiple homes before coming to us. A daughter who could walk.

I'm weary.

And it's ok.

A special needs mom never rests. The joke is that even regular moms don't rest, but regular moms have no idea what no rest is really like.

There is no rest emotionally or mentally, whatever my physical body may be doing. There is always something to be considered, prayed over, or planned for.

A special needs mom's life is a process. Whatever order an sn mom experiences them, she will probably have all these feelings or needs: guilt, exhaustion, tears, fear, denial, searching, endless searching, giving up, taking a break, loneliness, personal health concerns, going off the beaten path for treatment, feeling ostracized from friends, feeling ostracized from special needs friends because you are different from them or you use different treatment styles from them, and no doubt there are so many other things that could go on this list.

And it's ok.

It's hard, but it's ok.

And it's beautiful. My life is beautiful. My daughter is beautiful in her wheelchair and my son's smile is beautiful when he tells me how he is feeling.

That beauty is a gift from God. He knew that my life has many sides. I'm the wife, the mom, the special needs advocate, the organizer, the administrator, the encourager. I don't think this list ever ends. He knows the demands on my emotions, on my time, on my heart, on my mouth, on my brain. He gave me the beauty to balance the pain, but he didn't take away the pain and the struggle, and I feel it, and it hurts.

And it's ok.

I know people wonder what to say to me. Just say 'I'm sorry' and 'I'll pray for you.' Tell me you'll pray Tim's brain will work better and that Ilse will learn to walk. Tell me you'll pray I can rest. Ask me what I need and then bring it.

Come visit me. I know people are busy but special needs moms need visitors because it encourages us when people sit with us. When my son tried to kill himself, I asked my mom if she would just come sit with me, and her doing that was what helped me feel better.

Don't assume struggle means quitting or being angry at God or hating one's life. Don't put special needs moms under the pressure of having to act like everything is easy or going well.  Everyone has struggles and I've never seen any life where everything is perfect, and I'm standing up and saying it.

Life is hard but beautiful. Sometimes I can only see the hard.

And it's ok.