ginapanzinolyman September 26, 2020
As parents we are relieved when our children graduate out of a developmental stage.When your baby rolls over on her own, babbles her 1st sounds, begins somewhat solid foods, crawls and takes her first steps it’s a reason to celebrate! You are elated, filled with joy and overwhelmed with pride. We all want our children to be healthy. But, how do we cope when they’re not? We all want our babies to learn, grow, and succeed. But, what happens when they don’t? When you’re child has special needs, all of those milestones happen at a much slower pace. When Faith was born, I happened to have friends and family members with children of a similar age. As the other moms watched their children sit up on their own, I was changing Faith’s feeding tube and giving her heart medication. When the other moms were encouraging their babies to practice tummy time or crawl towards them, I was bringing my daughter to have open heart surgery. I was constantly watching other children thrive, achieve, and progress week by week, month by month. And because they were family and friends, and I love them, I was happy… for them. However, I felt sad for me and my girl. It was near impossible to prevent my heart from sinking. I remember crying a lot during those years when my daughter, Faith, was very young. It’s a hard pill to swallow. My heart was filled with so much love for her, and yet, I felt it breaking as I watched her fight and struggle to thrive. As time passed, Faith proved everyone wrong. The doctors said she would never eat on her own, Faith took out her own feeding tube one day and just started drinking from her bottle. The doctor said she may never crawl or walk until one day I found myself chasing her as she ran down the sidewalk. Yes, having a child with special needs changes everything! It has changed my views on life. I realized… I have been blessed with a child who has special needs. I watched her closely as she continued to grow and learn, and tried my best to help her reach her milestones. What I discovered was that I was actually learning from her. She taught me to never give up, every time she struggled yet persevered until she mastered the task. She taught me patience since it took her longer than most children to acquire a new skill. She taught me how to adapt because things often don’t go as planned. She taught me to trust in the fact that she would succeed. I ultimately learned that with her drive and my constant support, how could she fail? My daughter has Down Syndrome. She’s smart, funny, sweet, thoughtful and loving. We are now at the point where the young child struggles have been replaced with teen issues. I am up for the challenge. And I know that we, together, will adapt, discover more, acquire new skills, achieve our goals and continue learn from each other. So to all of the other moms with very special children, trust in the power of your love and dedication and believe in your child. Remember, you are doing the best that you can. Keep the faith!