We all have friends who just don't "get it". While they're concerned about their child stepping onto a school bus for the first time, we are wondering how our non-verbal child will even be able to communicate their needs in the academic setting. While they are wondering if their child will actually eat that lunch they packed, we are concerned about having life-saving medications properly administered at school. As they rush their youngster to football practice, we pray that our child would find just one good friend this year.
Few times of year magnify the fact that our families are not quite like our friends' than the beginning of the school year.
Still, the first day of school this year really opened my eyes to something.
I often think that those friends who just don't get it are SICK of hearing about our family's difficulties. If awkward platitudes aren't being slung our way, then the silence and isolation also wounds. Choose your method of pain.
I can't blame them. After all, our family is complex. There are many medical difficulties, school difficulties, physical pains, and emotional heartaches with all 3 of our children enduring some sort of chronic illness or special need. It's difficult enough living it ourselves without having to listen to it by choice.
But when we ARE able to find those bright spots beyond physical therapy, infusions, copious medical appointments, or social sorrows... WATCH OUT! There is going to be a party!
I could hardly believe how much positive feedback I got from loved ones and acquaintances when I shared this year's first-day-of-school picture!
Those who know us realize that little things are BIG things in our world. Three smiling kids is no small accomplishment in this house. And our circle of friends has seen far too many snaps in hospital or clinical settings. They've read my sorrows about joint pain, internal bleeding, life-threatening allergies, and bullying. They were ready to whoop it up with us as we marked this special start to our day.
If people had such a remarkable reaction to our morning picture, you can only imagine their response when I shared that ALL 3 had a wonderful first day of school! Last year at this time, we were only days away from a hospital admission for one. This accomplishment, that most others take for granted, was a HUGE deal for our 3 kids.
The great take-away encouragement for parents like us is this: We parents raising challenged children may walk through deeper, darker valleys than our peers, but our mountain tops are greater and brighter as well. When we rejoice over our kids, whether it be the simple celebration of successful first day of school or a medical hurdle overcome, a watching world rejoices with us!
PRAY: God, thank You for being Lord over the big and the small. Thank You that you balance our moments of difficulty with celebration of life's simple joys. Help us to shine Your glory through the lives we live out with our remarkable kids. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
~ Barb Dittrich