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Finding Joy in the Mayhem

Jennifer Arnold by Jennifer Arnold Additional Needs

Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold

I’m passionate about raising awareness about disability issues through education and outreach. When I’m not wearing my writer hat, I’m usually tryi...

As any parent of children with special needs knows, every day can bring new challenges and struggles, and there are some days when you consider the fact that you have managed to do the bare minimum a win.

No day is the same, and just when you think you’ve managed to get it all under control, all Hell breaks loose, and a new issue pops up; a massive meltdown at school, a cold for our little guy with chronic lung disease which always puts us on high alert.

Trying to find a specialist that takes our insurance or a mistake on a prescription that results in a series of phone calls that can take up most of the morning.

It would be so easy to fall into a rabbit hole of gloom over the hand that life has dealt, but that’s not how I roll.

I choose not to dwell on the negatives and wallow in self-pity- that does nothing for me, and it certainly does nothing for my kids.

I’m not minimizing the pain and emotion during times of real crisis; I’m speaking of the everyday, routine moments of life that can be extra difficult for those of us with children who have special needs.

Some days are impossibly hard and emotionally draining, but there is always something to be thankful for.

I’ve always been one of those “glass is half-full,” optimistic types.

Don’t get me wrong- I don’t walk around with a smile plastered on my face all the time like everything is all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns.

It definitely is not easy, but even in the midst of chaos, I can usually find some things to find a little joy from.

A good report from school for my children with challenging behaviors.

No bedtime struggle from my littlest who has bedtime avoidance down to an artform.

Seeing the siblings who quarrel the most sitting side by side quietly, or even playing a video game- together.

No one complaining about what’s for dinner.

Getting stuff checked off a “to-do” list- even if some of the things are tedious tasks.

Getting to drink a whole cup of coffee while it’s still hot.

Remembering the chocolate stashed in the back of the freezer that the kids know nothing about.

A kind word or comment from a friend on social media.

My always on the go eight-year-old sitting still for some extra cuddles.

Watching how focused my daughter is on her workbooks.

These instances and countless others are constant reminders that even though life can be overwhelming and hectic, there is joy to be found in the most ordinary of moments.


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