I have a terrible sense of direction. Even in familiar situations, I can get completely turned around. I can handle “Left” and “Right”, but if you try to tell me “East” or “West” it makes me laugh.

You may as well be speaking Mermish.

Once I picked a friend up from the train, got distracted talking, and turned the wrong way onto the highway. In my defense, it had been a long time since I’d seen him and we were having a Great Discussion. After 1 1/2 hours I realized that we should have been home by now; we had to turn around and didn’t get home until 3 hours later.

I’ve adapted. I am quick to ask for directions. I leave a little extra “getting lost” time when I go to a new place. I don’t panic, just calmly turn around again, and again, and again, until I finally get where I’m going. Or call Glen in tears, cursing the creators of GPS and the idiots at Mapquest, when I’m mostly just mad at myself.

We all have abilities AND disabilities.

Some are more obvious than others, but everyone has both. There is no perfect human specimen (and if there was, who would want to be around someone such an obnoxious know-it-all?). We try to maximize our strengths and struggle through our weaknesses. And sometimes it is our struggles which form the Very Best Part of who we are. God often uses our DISabilities most of all.

Our children are the same. We love them for Who They Are, not What They Can Do. In fact, their disabilities are part of their unique make up. And while we wish life were easier, we love even those parts too.

We have four children and they ALL have Special Needs.

L needs to be reminded to let things go, to take risks and to quit bugging her sister.

C needs help to regulate her emotions, to behave selflessly and to not let her sister bug her so easily.

B takes longer to learn new things, has low muscle tone and a speech delay (aka – Down Syndrome).

S was born 3 months early; he has a rare genetic syndrome and a moderate hearing loss.

The truth is we don’t know the extent of anyone’s special needs.  Whether there is a syndrome involved, as with two of my kids, or simply the byproduct of human imperfection (a syndrome we ALL suffer from).  Recognizing each child for their ability, accepting their disabilities and adapting to whatever life brings is the only way to get through life.  Sometimes I have to stop and ask directions in this journey too.  If only parenting came with a GPS!

They are our kids and we love them! They are surprising and remarkable, and they belong to us! That is what makes them truly special!

While all other “parenting GPS’s” may fail, prayer is always a good idea, no matter what special abilities, and disabilities you encounter.

 

Written by Christie Hoos

Christie Hoos is a wife, mother of 4, sometimes student and writer. She married her high school sweetheart at age 19 and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. They have known the depths of grief with the births of two stillborn sons. They have known the heights of bliss with their three daughters and newly adopted son. Throw Down Syndrome and a few other disabilities in the mix and this is one busy household. In her spare time Christie blogs at SoHeresUs (okay, the “spare time” part was a joke, but the rest is true).

Her message is: life is messy, but wonderful and God is mysterious, but good. Some days it feels like we’re just holding it together with hope and a prayer. And that’s exactly where we’re supposed to be.