The Power of Hope
When people ask how Summer is doing, I usually respond using the phrase “Big picture, she is doing great….”
Maybe it's my communications background that I always like to put things into perspective. Maybe it is my decision to be positive and have hope that also make me frame my response in this manner.
Raising a child with special needs is very challenging. It mostly is the day-to-day activities that require so much effort; however, after a while, these activities feel normal as they simply have become part of the routine. It's only when I'm around kids who are Summer’s age or younger that I'm reminded of how easy parenting can be when a child is self-sufficient and does not require constant supervision.
All of those things aside, Summer is doing great and she does continue to progress, and at the end of the day, that is the hope that I cling to.
A few months ago, I was reminded how progress can appear - Summer woke up, got out of bed, turned on the lights and went to the bathroom all by herself. My first instinct was to jump out of bed and go and help her (don’t want the entire roll of toilet paper ending up in the toilet). Mike said wait, “she’s doing it on her own”. So we waited and she completed her task and then came into our bedroom. We congratulated her and I could see the pride that she had for going to the bathroom all on her own.
Wow! That is huge progress. This small act of independence represents the bigger hope that I hold for her.
Having hope does not make the tantrums go away; having hope does not make Summer listen better; it simply is a choice that I’ve made to help me cope with life’s circumstances.
The wonderful thing about hope is that no one can take it away from me - the specialists, the doctors, the therapists.
I wish all of the amazing caregivers who are spending their days looking after kids with special needs; that they can find hope in something. Celebrate the small victories and love that child with all of your heart - there is nothing better.
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I am grateful that I get to spend this time with her and her brother. I will honour this time of a more relaxed schedule.
Whichever route a family chooses, what matters is knowing when to ask for help and how to get the right help to care for any family member that needs an additional helping hand.