I don’t think anyone grows up dreaming about having a special needs child. Perhaps I am wrong. I know I didn’t. My dreams of becoming a mother were along more typical lines. My life today as a mother looks nothing like my visions.
But I am sitting here, while Kiran naps, thinking about how I was prepared for this life. In big ways and small ways, I feel like God had a hand in shaping me and placing me in ways I needed, in order to be the mom Kiran needs.
Losing my brother at 17, I am no stranger to living inside grief. The grief you experience as a special needs mom is incredibly different to the grief you experience with the loss of a sibling. However, I learned a lot about myself, about loss, about living with intense sadness and a hole in your heart. It has served me well and prepared me to live with the losses that come on a seemingly daily basis, the intense sadness that can overwhelm, living this life as Kiran’s mom.
Being a nanny. I chose this job that I loved, and I gained so much valuable experience with neurotypical children. It made the typical baby stuff less intimidating for me, and I was able to focus all of my mental, emotional, and physical energy on the new stuff. The medical stuff. If I had had Kiran with no prior baby experience, I am not sure I would have come to the other side of that as intact as I was able to.
Making the decision to move back to West Des Moines from Seattle when we were just planning on trying to start a family (Turns out, we were already starting one and didn’t know it yet when that decision was made) was an important decision. The support of my parents has been invaluable from day one. And especially now, as my marriage fell apart and Kiran and I needed a safe place to land….I am thankful we are back with my parents. I couldn’t have done this without them.
People being brought into my life at the right times over the past three and a half years. The right person who shared his story of faith and losing it and coming back to it prompted me to start attending church again during a period when everything just felt dark. I don’t think I could still be putting one foot in front of the other on this journey if I didn’t have the touchstone church offers. The music still continues to inspire and bring me the life raft I need every day to stay afloat.
My mom deciding, years ago, to take a job at the Area Education Agency. I may not have known to so quickly obtain early access services for Kiran, as a weeks-old medically fragile infant. I would not have the inside scoop on everything available to help him through. And now, as I start my college journey, I have ample opportunities to job shadow, many SLPs who are willing to offer guidance and advice, and perhaps even a foot in the door once I am able to work.
I am thankful. I am thankful for the experiences I have had that have brought me to this point. My adult life has not gone as expected – at all – in any area. But it was preparing me for Kiran. It was preparing me to be his mom, his teacher, his therapist, his advocate, his nurse, his biggest fan.
And as hard as this journey is – as dark as the days can be – as exhausted as I sometimes (often) feel – I know I am right where I am meant to be. And I know I have the best people around me to support Kiran and me on this journey.
It’s a long road ahead – such a long, winding, confusing, exhausting road ahead – but we journey together. And that togetherness is what makes the journey worth it.