Last week, as I wrote my blog post, A Letter to My 19-Year Old Me, After Having My Child With Special Needs, I went through my old photograph albums, looking for pictures to add to the article. I went through numerous images of Nate when he was born in 1994 and after. As I looked at each one, I couldn’t help to become emotional, as I don’t look at those pictures often.
I turned each page in the photo album, staring at my 19 year-old self, holding my newborn baby, feeding him, bathing him, and loving on him. It bought back so many memories, which made me stop and say to myself,
“We have come a long way!”
And we have! Yet, I realized that I don’t take the time to reminisce on those days and celebrate. There are so many moments that I need to recognize.
First, I need to celebrate that Nate and I are still here. I don’t say that lightly, because there was a time where I was extremely sad, and somewhat depressed. It was a time when I thought raising my child was too difficult, especially as a single mother, and I didn’t want to live.
Next, there was the years of school. There were great moments and difficult ones. From Nate’s behavior problems, numerous meetings, and the issues with locating help for him after school. I thought that I would never get through that time, but WE did.
Next, there were the times that I didn’t think that I was going to survive, not having help. When Nate’s grandparents passed away, and when my mother was no longer able to help me, it was difficult. Yet, we survived and received the help that we needed.
Lastly, it was the years prior to Nate graduating from school, where I worried. I was overly concerned with where Nate would go after graduating. I constantly feared not having a place for Nate, I worried about me not being able to work, and I stressed about not receiving the funding that was required for services. However, all my worries were for nothing, because Nate received everything he needed.
After looking at those photographs, I realized that I needed to be more proactive and intentional about celebrating how far we have come over the years.
And you should do the same. Take the time to look over your life, in old photographs or whatever you hold in your heart. There is something in our children’s life and in our life to celebrate. Nothing is too small. We need to take a moment and look in our past and acknowledge the wonderful things that God has done, which will give us HOPE as we move along in our future.