You've changed...

Having a typical child
changes you.
But it's much different
than the change 
that happens when
you have a child with
a disability.

Family members and friends
who knew you before the 
birth of your child with a disability
will comment on how you have changed.

And when you think about it,
you know they are right.

How could you not change?
Your expectations change.
The vision of your 
child's future changes. 
You begin the journey
of acceptance.
You have to adjust to
your new "normal".
The word "normal" starts
 to get on your nerves a bit. 

You start celebrating,
and I mean really celebrating
milestones that people
with typical kids take for granted.  

You don't give up on your dreams
for your child but your
dreams definitely change. 

You try not to compare your child
with typical kids but sometimes
it's so in-your-face  
that it's hard not to.
And then you realize
that it has to stop.
It's not fair to your child 
and it's not fair to you.
You continue the journey
of acceptance.
Accepting your child 
just as they are.

You begin to see
the beauty in them
more than ever before.
Their joy.
Their unconditional love.
Their perseverance.
Their determination.
You start to notice
the things they CAN do
instead of focusing on what
they haven't mastered yet. 
 You change.  
 
You become a research fanatic,
equipping yourself to be the
best advocate possible
for your child.
Medical terms and
educational terms you
had never heard before
the change become
everyday words to you.

When you see another parent
of a differently abled child
you feel drawn to them
when you once would have
walked right past without
even noticing them.

You use words like 
"differently abled" instead of
"special needs" or 
"mentally handicapped".
The word "retarded"
makes the hair on the
back of your neck stand up.
Even though you try not
to let it bother you.
Even though you used
the word yourself
before the change. 
Even though people have
labeled you "too sensitive"
about it.
You can't help it.
You change.


And as you become 
aware of people  
who are prejudiced
against your child 
you also become aware
of your own prejudices
 against others.  
Your own closed
 mindedness comes
to light. 
You don't want 
to stay that way.
You soften.
You change. 

Some of your old friends
accept the change.
Some don't.
They distance themselves.
Maybe they don't 
know what to say.
Maybe they just can't
handle it all.
Whatever the reason,
they are no longer around.
You make new friends.
Friends who get it.
Friends who become like family.
Friends who become your lifeline.

Me?
Yes.
I have changed.
I'm probably a
little less flippant,
a little more serious.
I find joy in the
simple things and
beauty in places I
would have never 
bothered to look
before the change. 
I avoid words like
"tolerance"
and embrace words like
"acceptance".
I am committed
to judge less and
forgive more.

This sweet girl 
changed my life.

This sweet girl came along
and changed it even more! 

28 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have a son with Autism and Madeline had Down Syndrome. I relate I don't remember who I was sometimes before Madeline. You are right, I am so drawn to anyone with a "differently abled" child. I to have drawn away from some people and grown closer to others. We do change. Your daughters are just beautiful!

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    1. Note: I have a son with Down Syndrome, and a GRANDBABY , that happens to be named Madeline and also happens to have Down Syndrome

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  2. "Having a typical child changes you."
    What's a typical child?
    -=miguel=-

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  3. Beautiful. ...God bless you and your beautiful family and your journey

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  4. Thank you for this. I am just beginning on this journey and can't relate more. I couldnt imagine my life without my beautiful Cali in it. She is blessing us in more ways than I can count. And you are right, you change and become lighter, almost free, a little softer but ever so more brave. She brings out the best in me and is forever loved!

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  5. Thank you for this. I am just beginning on this journey and can't relate more. I couldnt imagine my life without my beautiful Cali in it. She is blessing us in more ways than I can count. And you are right, you change and become lighter, almost free, a little softer but ever so more brave. She brings out the best in me and is forever loved!

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  6. Caity, my SEVENTH grandchild was born with down syndrome. Everything in this poem is so true...EXCEPT my son and daughter-in-laws friends have been right there by their sides.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem!

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  7. Coming over from facebook - wonderful post!

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  8. Very nice writing and very true. Once you have a child with Down's you get to discover a whole new world that you never knew existed. Special need children will open your heart and your eyes to a new kind of love.

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  9. Thank You. That is so true. My daughter has Down Syndrome and I have changed for the better too.

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  10. This is so true! My son, with DS, is now 37 years old. Acceptance is such an important part of this life journey! The lessons we learn from them will always be with us!

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  11. You also learn that many of our children have a form of intelligence that has yet to be measured, one that those who are wise strive for and seldom ever achieve, the ability to give love freely, to discern those who are good of heart, cutting through all of the outward trappings, and the importance of the basics, family and friends.

    If anything, I feel unworthy so often for the gift which has been bestowed on me and I know I need to strive every day to be worthy.

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  12. So good to read something that is directly from the heart...God bless each family and this FB site. It has opened so many eyes, continues to educate where it is most needed. A child is a gift from God and He doesn't make mistakes. Love to every child I am fortunate to meet on this site.

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  13. By the faces of your daughters, You cannot help notice, not ONLY what an amazing caretaker you have been, but how lucky they are, that God chose you as their mother!

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  14. This is beautiful. Thank you! Our second lil' lady inspired us so much we started a non-profit that grants scholarhships to adults with Down syndrome for college. I never in a million years thought I had that in me...but Ruby gave me the strength. Amazing lil' peeps they are! www.rubysrainbow.org

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  15. Thank you for sharing.

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  16. These words are the ones inscribed on my heart, that I've wanted to say, but didn't know how. My sweet Baker changed our lives in the most incredible way. I am a better woman for being his mama. What am incredible gift. What an incredible journey.

    Lovely, friend. This post. Your girls. Just lovely.

    http://bakerisourdreamcometrue.blogspot.com/?m=1

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  17. Beautiful post, beautiful girls...

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  18. I like the post, you have two beautiful girls!
    I`ll be back to read more ;-)
    Christine with Joshua from Germany

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  19. Every word true!

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  20. My youngest son was born with downs. When we first found out we were scared and confused. Now Jaden is 8 almost 9 years old and I cannot imagine not having him in my life. He is my joy and my strength! He has taught me so much about unconditional love and patience. I cannot imagine my life without him.

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  21. So true! I almost feel guilty when I run into friends I used to be close to before my Eon came along. I wonder if it's my fault that we aren't close anymore. I am so happy that you put it into words for me. I have changed...and that's okay!

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  22. I love love love you! Just sayin"

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  23. Incredible. Thank you

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