Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot recently about some of the challenges and joys of raising a child who has special needs. In so many ways, it is just like raising my other children. I love each one of my beautiful babies, and they all are so unique and adorable. One of the things I have noticed about raising Kaitlyn though, is that the valleys are lower and the peaks are higher. Like when we found out at her ultrasound that she had spina bifida, and the whole rest of the pregnancy, the surgery, living in SF, missing Damon and Audrey, obviously that was the lowest valley. Then seeing your beautiful child succeed, and overcoming the obstacles that she has like learning to eat, and breathe, seeing her legs kick and move for the first time. Those are the highest highs. Things I took for granted with my first two. I'm sure that these peaks and valleys will only grow larger with time. Even now, as I go to church and see all the babies Kaitlyn's age or a little younger doing things Kaitlyn hasn't yet, I start to worry. The worrying never goes away. I always wonder about each little delay, and how the disparity between her and those her age will grow with time. But then I see my beautiful little girl smile at me, and I know it took her longer, and she had to work harder for those smiles, and I know that I am more proud of that smile than I was of any of the others. I can't imagine the peak we will have when she takes her first step, when she says her first word. It really emphasizes for me the principle that you have to know the bad to appreciate the good.

In church last Sunday part of a lesson that was given was about all the qualities and gifts we are given from our Heavenly Father. The teacher went on to list about 15 of these, and I realized that none of these had anything to do with being intellectually gifted. I have no idea what is in store for Kaitlyn. I do know that she has mild hydrocephalus, and that her brain has a few abnormalities from the chiari that she had in utero. How those will manifest later as far as learning disabilities, we don't know. I always seemed to equate my self-worth and the essence of who I am with the way I think and my intelligence. Then, when we found out about Kaitlyn, my views have slowly changed. Some of the gifts that were mentioned were, the ability to love, the gift of faith, the gift of charity, etc. I feel like so many who are limited in intellect have these gifts in abundance. I look at Damon and Audrey, and the essence of who they are is not identifying letters and numbers and long in depth conversations about our world. It is their innocence. The fact that they don't judge others, that they love unconditionally. That they forgive easily, that they give hugs and kisses away constantly. I love them more than I can express, and it is not because I think they have so much ahead of them, it is for who they are right now. I love Kaitlyn so much for who she is right now, and no matter what happens in the future, I am going to be so proud of her for everything she is able to accomplish. I am so grateful that I get to learn these lessons, and that I get to have these high peaks. Kaitlyn is an incredible blessing to our family, and I am so lucky to be her mommy.