If you have children, be grateful. That’s the first step. Thank Jesus, or the Maker of heaven and earth, or Fate or the guiding forces of the universe or (W)homever you attribute as the giver of children. Or, pat yourself on the back, I suppose, if you feel that it was your own excellence at doing what people in love do in bedrooms. In any case, I have reason to remind you that children aren’t a guarantee in life, so therefore, be thankful for them.
Now, step two. If your kids are healthy and developing on a normal plane, be grateful.
As a person who has for most of my life taken for granted my health, I’m freshly realizing the blessings of a functional body and mind by living on the flipside with children that are going to require a little extra here and there in order to hear (and thus speak) sufficiently.
Granted, my children’s “special needs” aren’t very severe. If we run out of hearing aid batteries, both kids will still be able to know what we’re saying. We’re not buying special vehicles or houses, or, save the hearing aids and batteries, any other extra equipment in order to help them be mobile or even alive, like some parents face every day. It can always be more difficult, I suppose.
But today my attitude isn’t an attempt at comparison, it’s one of accepting reality. As nice as our intervention specialists and coordinators and doctors and health care providers are, I’m frankly kind of tired of them wrecking havoc on my calendar. The appointments, the trips, the forms, the calls, the voicemails and then return calls… these are things that, in their absence, would make my life more simple. I could simply decide “yes” or “no” on a preschool, and then add them to a waiting list. We’d stand in the normal line for screening, hoping that the practice on shapes and colors paid off, and be assigned a classroom.
But not today. Or in two weeks for our meeting about services. To which I get to lug 3 children and attempt to listen and comprehend our options and try to make a sound decision all the while trying to persuade the typically developing one not to smoosh play-doh into the carpet like she was attempting today.
So, that’s all. Take a breath and a second to feel all your functioning limbs and appendages. Realize that you don’t feel physical pain. Take a walk and get someplace without having to push something or asking someone to push you along. Appreciate the distance to which you can see and the sounds you can hear, even if it’s a nearby co-worker inadvertently singing off-key to their ipod. Taste the food that you swallow on your own accord and digest unaided. Then be glad that this is true of your children, too. And then remember number one again – that you have a child for which to be grateful.