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The One With the Stages

I wish that, at this point, I was excited to plan Flynn’s second birthday party. I wish that I was buried in choices for theme, menu, and party favors. After all, that is my realm. In our world - the world of having a child with special needs, however, a child ages out of early intervention at three. Turning two is the starting line for preparation to enter the school district, timelines, countless life-altering decisions, and paperwork. I am dreading two for everything aside from the typical reasons. I am ready to embrace the "terrible" twos, but I need to catch my breath before venturing into this unplanned, isolating, seemingly uncharted territory.

Before becoming Flynn's mom, I thought I had prepared myself in every way that I could aside from caring for an actual child. I read all of the books, articles, and blogs, joined groups, and took classes. Does that actually make you a better parent? I don't believe so. I'm not even sure that it really prepares you. What I am sure of it that none of those things prepare you for an atypical experience, like that of raising a child with a disability. On top of everything else, it's a life of vocabulary and medical terms, laws and regulations, obstacles and setbacks, and countless tests and appointments.

I've gone through many stages, but I’m no longer angry. I’m no longer sad. I’m just tired. I'm physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Life doesn't stop and allow you the time to conquer these obstacles. Time doesn't pause for you to simply enjoy being a parent, and there are never enough hours in the day. All of my energy goes into showing love, pride, patience, and compassion all while trying to accomplish all of the “extras” that we need to accomplish in our daily life.

Being the parent of a child with disabilities is so rewarding. I have been granted the gift of love and life and endless gratitude. I have learned how to be a mother and an advocate, all thanks to this tiny little soul. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything because I’m right where I need to be. I just need a hug.

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