Nick was first officially diagnosed when he was about a year old, which was about the time that I realized I was pregnant again. I calculated that Ryan would still be 2 when the baby arrived and Nick was not accomplishing normal developmental levels. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to manage my life.
In hindsight, I don’t know how we could have managed without our baby girl Karen. She has been her brother’s keeper since she could walk. Even when she was younger she was helping him grow. He was motivated to do the things that he saw her doing. He worked harder in therapy to accomplish what came naturally to her.
I recognize that many families, when faced with the future responsibility of caring for a child with special needs, choose to not have any more children. I certainly can understand that choice. In our case, God chose a different plan. I really didn’t feel that I would be up to the challenge of caring for another baby while trying to help Nick gain developmental milestones. It turned out that having other children around Nick was an incredible blessing to him and to us. Our son Derek arrived two years after Karen and Nick began learning from the new baby.
I know! You’re thinking, 4 kids in less than 5 years. My mom even took me aside one day to ask me if I knew what I was doing. Trying to make a joke, she wondered if she needed to explain the facts of life to me. I didn’t think that it was funny.
She also used to have a saying, “Man proposes, God disposes.” I have also heard the same sentiment in the phrase, “Let go and let God.” I found that both of these sayings were hard to implement when my life felt out of control. When things were happening that were hard to manage, or hard to live through, I didn’t see the joyful moments.
Life never works out the way we think that it will when we are young. Sometimes, the things that we believe we can’t handle turn out to be amazing, fulfilling experiences. We can learn to recognize the joyful moments. I know that I did.
One of Nick’s favorite church songs has the following line, “Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”
I really believe that our families are our greatest blessings in life. My husband and children sure have been mine. And now the grandchildren…. Well what can I say about that blessing. Anyone who is a grandparent understands.
Count your blessings, list them out. It truly is incredible.
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