Look Closely, Silver Linings are Everywhere

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

The alarm goes off at 5:00 am.  My body is tired. I feel the dull ache in my back almost immediately.

My mind is still exhausted from yesterday, but the alarm is shouting at me to GET UP!

It’s time to administer my daughter’s first dose of medication for the day.

It must be given two hours before her next dose, so I sit up, plant my feet on the floor and drag myself out of my warm, comfy bed.

My husband typically volunteers, but he deserves a break this time.  It’s the weekend, but Saturday is not synonymous with sleeping in.  Not in this house.

I find myself drifting off to sleep again after giving the meds, and confirming that she has soundly returned to sleep. My brain continuously nags at me, reminding me of all that needs to be done in the hours ahead.

I ignore it for as long as I can, but feel guilty with every extra second I lay there.

So, I start the day, and I know it will be busy from that moment on.

It’s easy to find yourself focusing on the aspects that are difficult about your day.

The lifting…the transferring…the meticulously organizing everything for a trip out of the house…the battle I will have with myself over “we should be practicing with our walker today or the adaptive trike”, instead of sitting in our PJs watching cartoons.

Measuring out meds for the remainder of the day…setting alarms to remind me not to forget what time they are due.

Carving out some time to practice communication with our picture cards and the iPad… the list goes on.

However, if you lose yourself in the struggles of your day-to-day, you miss out on the silver linings; the unbelievable beauty that surrounds you.

Others may not comprehend what a day in the life of a special needs parent entails. I imagine they probably wouldn’t want to.

But you know what?  They also can’t begin to fathom the intense blessings that we encounter daily.

Walking into my eight-year-old daughter’s room and seeing her smiling up at me from her special safety bed…watching her stretch her arms up high for me to pick her up…feeling her arms wrap around me tightly as I lift her out and tell her, “Good morning, my love!”

Before I acknowledge any of the items on our long, daily “to-do” list, I get to sit on my sofa and cuddle my sweet, precious angel.

I sing silly songs to her and listen to her erupt into laughter that melts my heart and brightens the day.

I get to see a beautiful twinkle in her eyes and hear her shriek with excitement when I ask her, “Would you like to watch Beat Bugs on TV?”

Those are moments that I deeply treasure.

As our day marches on, I have the privilege of witnessing a miracle unfold as I strap her chunky, clinical orthotics onto her legs and stand her in front of her walker to take some steps.

I am consumed by bliss as I observe her fourteen-year-old brother carefully pushing her on the trike.

As he lovingly ensures that she’s moving at a safe pace, I know how lucky I am.

I’ve been gifted the incredible joy of watching my non-verbal daughter choose the correct colors and shapes as I ask her “touch blue” or “touch the circle” on her picture cards.

Suddenly, my hectic, tiring Saturday becomes a series of silver linings in a seemingly challenging life.

I am completely surrounded by love and light.  Beautiful moments to be cherished and appreciated are all around us…we just have to look closely.

Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and lose yourself in the glorious benefits of this life

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