I think being a mom of a child with exceptional needs has given me a unique perspective on being thankful. While I’m thankful for all of my blessings on this Thanksgiving, I find that I’m equally as thankful each and every day of the year. It’s nice to have an entire day to ponder the meaning behind gratitude and how it weaves itself into my daily existence because I am indeed very grateful. But as a mother, a wife and, more importantly, a woman, I try to honor the things I’m thankful for all year round…and these two are at the top of that list.
Lola has taught me to appreciate in a different way and embrace all that life has to offer. Because I surround myself with other families who are raising children with special needs (whether it be close friends, support groups or even social media groups), I am often reminded that life is indeed short and unpredictable. So many parents have to say goodbye to their children way too young. It is a difficult reality to swallow which makes every day I have with Lola and Sebastian a blessing. So we celebrate most everything they do…especially when it comes to Lola because life isn’t always as easy for her. We celebrate her grandiose milestones yet we are equally as excited by the tiny inchstones that take place in between. We’re thankful for the steps she has learned to take safely and her newfound words that help her express her wants and needs. I’m especially grateful when I hear her laugh at any given moment and I’m so very thankful I get to hear her say “mommy”. I know not all moms get to hear this word and it’s something that I will never taken for granted. I love her spontaneous head butts that are her way of giving me a kiss and there is nothing sweeter than her snuggles as she is falling asleep at night. I love seeing the excitement on her face when she sees a playground and I’m so proud to hear her say “slide”, “swing” or her latest word “park”. I’m grateful for every day an electrical firestorm has spared her developing brain. I love seeing her drive in life and how she refuses to give up when a challenge has placed itself in front of her. I’m thankful for her little brother, Sebastian, who may someday take over the role as her “big” brother. They don’t always get along, but in the moments when the universe has aligned just right for them to tolerate one another, their love for each other truly shines through. I’m especially grateful for her father, who not only celebrates all of her accomplishments, but who also picks me up on the days when my heart is heavy. He is my everything. I’m appreciative of our close friends and family who are always cheering on our little girl. I’m so thankful for her teachers, therapists, bus drivers and all of the support she gets from her school. There is nothing scarier than sending your child with epilepsy and limited speech to school for many hours a day yet they have proved to us that she is indeed in good hands. I appreciate my friend and neighbor who is exceptionally helpful on the days when she isn’t in school. Never have I met a more inclusive group of kids than at her house. I’m especially thankful that Lola has the best doctors who never belittle my concerns and are always accessible to answer my questions. She has so many people that directly influence her. They weren’t lying when they said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s the absolute truth. Our village includes all of you who show your support through your encouraging words and for that we are grateful. So even though I’m thankful today because it’s Thanksgiving, I was just as thankful yesterday and I’ll be just as thankful tomorrow. Life is good.