Special needs: Why me?
So much of parenting Israel is pure joy. He is the sweetest little boy I think I could have ever imagined. He can give the best snuggles, he loves to charm others and is so friendly to everyone. He has a pure heart and forgives instantly. He loves to giggle and make people laugh. He loves to dance and sing and any music speaks straight to his heart. He can be the easiest to please - a car ride, music, his beloved puppy - and he's set.
|This puppy... we have had countless versions of this puppy. It is Israel's favorite comfort item. We've gone through so many and I'm sure there are many more in our future (thankfully they are cheap!).|
Israel works SO HARD. I cannot believe the amount of progress he has made in the last year. Every physical accomplishment that Israel has done has come through hours and years of physical therapy. Things that come naturally for others come with repetition and hard work for Israel. He's so tough, he has persevered through so much in his short life.
There's also so much of parenting Israel that is unpredictability and chaos. He can be a time bomb, he has sensory issues and there always needs to be a plan B. He's heavy and needy and can be so stubborn. Things that I think in my head will be wonderful outings can be completely awful and result in all of us crying. I don't want to post too much negativity about my son, but I think that there is beauty in some transparency in this journey. Israel is always making progress- learning more words and able to communicate better about what he wants and doesn't want. He can help us help him more, and I know this will only get better. But it is still hard NOW. It's still hard to miss out on things and to go home early, or for half of our family to experience things separately because Israel needs to calm down and we have to help him regulate. These are things that I don't know - do other people go through this?! So that's why I'm sharing. I know that we are not alone. There are other special needs families out there and we need to encourage each other and support each other in the hard moments. That it is okay to cry in public because the vacation/outing you have been anticipating has a rocky start or you have to leave and try again later. It's okay to feel ill-equipped sometimes as long as we remember that God has given us everything we need and that we have to lean into Him in all the hard moments too.
I think there's one question with two answers, when it comes to special needs. I ask God - WHY ME!? Why do you think I can handle this? Why do you think that I am equipped and able to advocate for my son? Why can't we be "normal?" Why do we have to have challenges?
And also - WHY ME?! How do I deserve such a gift? Why do you trust me with this boy who is so special and beautiful and spunky and charming? Why do I get the honor of raising this child whose story could have been so vastly different, and yet here I am, his mother?! Why do I get to be the one to cheer for him and receive the joys of celebrating the hard-earned victories?!
I DON'T DESERVE THIS. This gift, this grace. Special needs is complicated and sometimes you just feel like it is a burden. It's a continual mystery and I've been shaped through this journey like none other. It's made me tougher and stronger as a person and mother. We've met the best therapists and teachers, we have had access to equipment and tools to help our son that we didn't even know existed. I'm so glad that we adopted first, and that Israel is our son. I'm thankful that God writes a better story than I do and so honored to be Israel Biruk's advocate, cook, chauffeur, secretary, entertainer and MAMA!