As time progresses, life begins to revolve around doctors appointments, therapists visits, medical equipment, special ed classes and it crowds almost everything else out. You feel a sense of panic as you try to stay afloat amid the needs of your child and the work that comes with them. You seek out support from others going through similar things for the strength to carry on.
That's how things felt for Melanie and I when Whitney was diagnosed with 1p36 Deletion Syndrome almost exactly seven years ago. But this last week I came to a very interesting realization. I've become used to and even comfortable with the life our little family has come to live.
Juggling Whitney's care is still time consuming and sometimes exhausting for Melanie and I. But we've become accustomed to it and it doesn't take the same toll on us any more. In fact, we've settled into a new norm that feels healthy. We've figured out how to stand on our own feet and the tears stopped long ago. In fact, life is pretty good most of the time.
I don't think Melanie and I can really take credit for the progress we've made. We're ordinary folks just like anyone else, but we've put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward for so long that now it's habit. And, along the way, we've made time for evening soccer games, walks through the neighborhood, movie nights, birthday parties, family vacations and all kinds of "normal" things that fit into our lives just fine.
I mention this not to say, "We've arrived!" But instead, to make sure those of you who are out there reading know that it gets better. You may be in the thick of a very painful and difficult adjustment because of your own child's diagnosis. But if you can just keep moving forward, taking it one day at a time, someday, you'll wake up and realize that you and your special needs child are doing just fine. In fact, before you know it, you'll settle into a new norm and you'll be enjoying life. Don't give up hope. Mark my words. You'll get there!