What I didn’t realize when you were born was the label that would be put on you – “Special Needs”. It’s a label that no one wants to have. I didn’t realize that this journey would be both powerful and exhausting. I would tell the me before you that I would become a stronger person. That I had strength I didn’t know existed. The quiet meager mouse would learn to speak up, stand strong, and fight.
I would say this journey has been hard and that you will cry for doors that shut and for moments that are a breakthrough. That labels like “Special Needs” won’t define us. That people don’t know the power of “Special Needs”. That it doesn’t mean limitations. It means finding how to break through the norm. That it doesn’t mean sadness that the world was built for “normal life”. It’s joy that you can show the world a new normal. When other mothers tell me “I don’t know how you do it,” I know that this for me isn’t a choice. As a “Special Needs Mother” I do what I do because I know no other way. This is what unconditional love is about.
I would tell the me before you that people truly don’t understand what “Special Needs” is. Others think that it describes a person with disabilities and/or physical/learning difficulties. What they don’t understand is that we all have “Special Needs” and that you just happen to wear your needs externally. Inside all of us is a person that needs something special. So many of us hide our deficiencies so well and walk around feeling sorry for others. I would tell me to prepare for this journey because as your mother it would be up to me to break down doors for you, so that as you get older you don’t have to worry about them. I would tell me to prepare you for those doors that still remain shut. Maybe they aren’t meant to be open. You (we) will find another way. A shut door is not the end of the story – it’s the start of one.
I would tell me that this journey will be long and beautiful. It will be filled with the smartest doctors, the best educators, and the know-it- all’s of everything. BUT- I will be your expert and I will raise you to be your own expert. I would say to the me before you that you are worth every obstacle we come across and find a way around. I would tell me to know that we will always be learning but the one thing we will know for sure is that we will not let labels like “Special Needs” define us. It will be us that define it!