Lessons in Parenting Special Needs: 2/4

This week I need some good reminding about hope, and this is why, mamas with special kiddos, I cannot stress enough WHY YOU NEED SUPPORT!

You need, specifically:

  • women friends
  • family, or friends who are like family
  • other mamas who have kids with the same disabilities as your children

Now, life has been really  hectic, and show NO signs of slowing down  with a birthday party, Scooby-Doo show, and bastketball games, ALL scheduled for next week!

That, and my intense faith, though, has not made the down days go away.  So in Bible study this week, my friend asked how I was doing and I poured out my heart.  I rely heavily on God and His provision – and He’s always come through, but when I look at my children and their improvement (or lack of), I worry about their future.  As an older mom, I doubly worry – what happens when I’m not here any more?

And the full truth I revealed: that at this point, I just don’t see how either of them will manage adulthood unless they are in a home.  (Forget college, forget marriage.)

At that point, my dear friend piped up.  You see, she has a 17-year-old nephew who has autism.  He started college in the fall and is doing great.  What I didn’t realize?

Only 2 years before that, he couldn’t speak!  Her takeaway?  You have no idea what your child can or will accomplish in the future.  “NEVER give up hope!”

I took it to heart. I had, in a small, shuttered corner of my heart that I don’t like to talk about, given up hope.  I had laid on myself the power of things that are not in my hand…with my kids, I have control issues, and my trust in God is weak.  I had started to draw the blinds down on the future of my 7- and a 10-  year old girls.

This time, though, it didn’t taking read a scripture, or a prayer, or feeling the comfort of God or the Holy Spirit in my heart.  It took the impassioned plea of a really good friend to see how far away I had come from hope, and how it is really too soon to throw in the towel, even in a small portion of my soul.

I encourage you today, you who have kids with special needs, who wear a brave, bright face, who overcome  more hurdles than Superman while raising your kids, who cover up that small, dark shadow in the corner of your soul, to find yourself a good friend who can shake some sense into you!  Or, find a mother who’s happy with the life her child leads.  We are here, we mamas in the community of kids with disabilities, and we have stories that will inspire and encourage you!

Peace out, and now some birthday photos from my 10-going-on-rebellious-16-year-old (please note I really crapped out taking photos on Saturday. BIG TIME FAIL, so this is all I got):


Yumtastic GFCF cupcakes from Sugar So Sweet!


amelia and cupcakes

Woohoo, we can finally eat them!


amelia opens gifts

“All these presents? For me????” She says it just like that.


Amelia and doll

Merida! What a gorgeous doll, she loved her.




    • Gina B says

      Ah, Sherry, that means a lot and made my afternoon-thank you! I’m glad I could encourage you too – you deal with a lot as well.

    • Gina B says

      Thank you so much Raya!I always want to balance: I don’t want to whine but I want to be real too. I want to encourage, but it’s hard to remember that part of encouragement is letting people know it’s ok and perfectly human to feel sucky, you just can’t do that every week or it gets depressing.

  1. says

    I think hope and acceptance are the key parenting skills we all need. We’ll never be able to teach our kids everything they need to know. But, we can definitely demonstrate that we are always there to give what we can. Which, in sure your kids know. I’m so inspired by kids with special needs because they have an amazing ability to focus and excel at simple tasks. You don’t see that in our complex society very much. But, we definitely need more of that.
    Jeannette recently posted…Onya Baby Carrier Review + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Gina B says

      Hi Jeanette, true! That’s an interesting take, they care about everything they do, and they get a real sense of accomplishment from the small things. Also a thing we can all learn!

  2. says

    I don’t have a special needs daughter, but I do have a ten year old going on 16 year old in the house and hey, guess what? Your photos look much like mine. A photographer I’m not. :) Your photos look fine to me!
    Your post is uplifting because you have shared a part of your life and world that I do not know. Puts my little day to day struggles into perspective. Thank you for that!
    Stopping by to say Hi from MeloMomma’s blog hop. Have a great day!

    • Gina B says

      Hi Linda, thank you so much for the compliment! I’m usually more upbeat than this, but I also try to keep it real on this blog. Hopping back over to your blog hop now!

  3. says

    Well, my you do have your hands full. I had raised four children on my own & that’s a chore in itself, but I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like if one or more had special needs. Although my last child was put in special ed, but I didn’t see why until they brought it to my attention. She was slow on grasping things. Wow, I never even noticed & I felt like I had failed her somehow, but then a mother’s instinct kicks in & some how we just know what to do, don’t you think? Have a great weekend. Hailing from Stacy uncorked.
    xmasdolly recently posted…Aloha! Friday’s Parties!My Profile

    • Gina B says

      But you didn’t fail her! We didn’t know Zoe had problems until age 2 diagnosis #1 (SPD) and age 3, diagnosis #2 (autism). What we were was bombarded with TONS of well-meaning incorrect information about everything from so-called “spirited babies” to garbage about allergies and skin disorders and constant diarrhea being “normal”. We just assume that instinct has to be wrong or wishful thinking, but it’s really not. Please don’t feel badly-and yes, sometimes we DO just know what to do. Trust that inner voice!

      As for me, yep, my hands ARE full, but I’m very type A…I don’t sit still very well at all.

    • Gina B says

      Oh man! My daughter is too distracted by the Christmas holidays & so excited to get back in January that she forgets every year, lol.

  4. says

    I love that your daughter just turned 10 – that’s how old Princess Nagger is! :) I needed to read this today – Little Dude, who we adopted this past summer, is 5 and comes from a background where his birth mother is a drug addict (we have no idea what she was on while pregnant) and is needing to be tested for ADD, ADHD, Autism or Asperger’s because he’s showing signs of any of them in his behavior and learning patterns. I have to confess that it’s a struggle for both the hubby and I being older parents to deal with, especially considering our miracle child is polar opposite in behavior and learning curve, even when she was that age. I do have hope, though, because of mom’s like you – and you’re right, support is so important so we don’t feel all alone. I’ve been stalling on getting him tested – I’m pretty sure it’s because I fear what the results ultimately will be, but I need to do it, because I need to make sure I can do what I need to do as his mom to make sure he gets the help he needs and can grow the way he needs to. If that makes sense. On a positive note, my sister’s youngest son is autistic – and he’s also a genius who’s doing great in college as we speak. 😉 So yes, hope is abundant! :)
    Stacy Uncorked recently posted…Dissed by Nemo, Princess Nagger the Actress and Art Winner, Jack Frost is a DeerMy Profile

    • Gina B says

      Hi Stacy, 10 is a crazy age!! Congratulations on your adoption. And I KNOW the feeling -autism gets a really bad rap, no parent wants the diagnosis, but it’s needed to help him and to get aid. It’s a challenge for any parent, but my honest experience is this: clean eating and a nontoxic house go a long way to helping a kid with these kinds of disability shed difficult behaviors! You probably already know my stance on things like packaged food, regular cleansers, and vaccines (and believe me, as a product blogger, that’s tricky – I’ve turned down lots of project offers). I even now know why kids with autism can be so smart and learning disabled at the same time. First find out why he’s having difficulties or delays because every kid is SO different. If you ever decide to look into nutrition, that’s what I’m doing with this blog this year, but email me any time. Good luck!