Most of the time we forget that our daughter has some special challenges. We simply view her as who she is, rx a valuable member of our family. Other times it is painfully obvious that she is not like most typical five-year-old girls. Those are the times that almost catch me by surprise, and can take my breath away.
Everyday trials take the biggest toll on us. Simple tasks that aren’t so simple, such as struggling to get a new word out or interacting with other little girls. It’s hard to accept that it isn’t going to happen like it happens with most little girls. It’s heartbreaking to watch her efforts sometimes, we wonder about the future, wonder if we will always be able to protect her from life’s hurts that are sure to come her way. Yet, we never stop being thankful she is part of our family.
Even on the days when she has challenged me more than normal, or getting to a therapy appointment is particularly tough, I know there is a reason that God, in his infinite wisdom, decided to put this little girl in this particular home. I’m constantly reminded that it’s the little things that matter. We rejoice when new words come out clearly like “Christmas store!”, or when she has had a great riding session.
The joy always overshadows the heartache. She has challenged our family to grow in ways we wouldn’t have done otherwise. I believe she has helped teach her siblings to be more compassionate, forgiving, and to have more empathy. She has challenged our parenting skills in ways we wouldn’t have imagined.
Are there times when I wish she was more “typical”? Yes, I’d be lying if I didn’t, but then Leah wouldn’t be Leah. So, we will happily, and thankfully, take her untypical ways, and whatever quirks come along with it.
Jen is a wife to one amazing husband and mom to six energetic kids. Visit Forever, For Always, No Matter What where she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption.