Extending myself grace.

I’m learning to accept grace and find that I’m a difficult student.  In the past I’ve pushed back, arguing that my life isn’t stressful.  I was even a bit defensive.

See, I’m living my dream.  Have loads of babies.  Stay at home and master all things domestic.  Be a good wife, a loving daughter and loyal friend.  But things don’t always go according to plan and sometimes dreams give us more than we bargained for.

I never anticipated adding *special needs* into the mix.  Nor did I realize the physical demands of raising up three boys who have only four years between them.  I didn’t give a second thought about the stresses that come with everyday life.

It’s difficult to admit, but a tiny part of me feels like I’ve failed.  It seems everywhere I look another mom is able to better balance her life and her children.  Many of whom are raising children with special needs, and others with way more than three children.  And here I am overwhelmed – my body telling me to slow down or else – again, readjusting my dreams.

I’ve fought against my reality.  I can do all of this.  I have to, I simply must.  Without realizing it, I’ve fought hard to make things look seamless and *normal.*  A sort of counter-balance to the *special needs* of our life.  I was good at this smoke and mirrors act.  I almost had myself fooled.  We’re not any different…  Yet in some ways we are.  And that’s OK.  

I wasn’t extending myself an inch of grace.

I’m not writing for sympathy.  I’m writing yet another reminder to myself and for other moms who are also walking this journey.  I don’t know if it is more difficult to raise a child with *special needs* than *typical* children.  Before I would have argued that it wasn’t, different perhaps, but no more difficult.  If I’m being honest with myself I now realize that I might not always be the mom who can head up the school committee, or take the lead on a project.  Sometimes I find evaluations and IEP meetings emotionally draining and speech and other delays can be frustrating.

All of this is OK.  Admitting such feelings doesn’t reflect poorly on me as a mother.  And in no way does it change how I love my son.

A little grace goes a long way.

See that?  That’s my kids playing outside while I’m inside baking and making a mess.

gasp!

Pajamas!? Outside?!  At 10 a.m.?!

Sometimes we need reminders.  Permanent ones.

We now have this hanging in our kitchen.  To which Henry exclaimed oh no!  Not the fruit again!  Do we have to remember all of them?  Oh dear, seems our diet has been lacking the fruits of the spirit?

In other life-changing news, Alex sent our puppy June off for six-weeks of training.  Puppy-lovers don’t hate, but it has been dreamy.  The boys can run outside without dodging poop.  We can leave toys, shoes, whatever we want! out because no one will eat them up.  Of course everyone now comes out of the woodwork proclaiming I just couldn’t believe it when you guys added a puppy to the mix!  It’s almost like having a fourth child.  No kidding.  People, please speak-up before we go and do something crazy like that again.

Our day-to-day might not look different but it’s there – grace – softening the edges.

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3 thoughts on “Extending myself grace.

  1. For me, the extra *special needs* tag makes some things so much more difficult, but when those goals are accomplished they are so much more rewarding. IEPs can be tough to take for me, too. I think you’re doing a great job…and we Moms just need to hear that sometimes. :)

  2. Oh Libby, once again you’ve written straight from MY heart. Thank you for being honest in your journey and for reminding us we all need to give ourselves some extra grace! It’s hard taking care of our little guys. Right now, I’m working on smiling more each day – it’s hard!
    -Danielle

  3. I had tears reading this post because I too am in the same place, on the same journey. It looks like your doing a wonderful job with your boys. Having just had my third boy, who is “typical” , it made me remember that things were quite different (and yes, even more difficult I’d have to say) right from the start three years ago when our Nicholas was born.

    I meant to write on your early post but I’d love to hear your decision on preschool. We decided to keep Nicholas in a special education preschool for this 3 year old preschool year (he went 3 1/2 days in a 2 year old class). It was a tough decision, as I was really hoping to put him where my oldest son went – a private preschool. I don’t think he is quite ready for a number of reasons, including he is not fully potty trained and I think he needs one more year of intensive therapy that he could get at the special education school. His class will be 1/2 typical and 1/2 special needs, with each special needs child having a typical buddy paired right from the start. I still have hopes that he will attend the catholic school that my oldest son is starting kindergarten at for the 4 year old preschool program.

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