This is a phrase that any special needs parent will tell you they hear on a regular basis. And while the admiration is greatly appreciated, there is a nasty little secret I have to let you in on: most days, we barely do. Most of us, most days, are clutching at a thin thread for dear life. For a long time, I put on my happy face and went out into the world, but if I was going to really and truly be brutally honest with you: I was tremendously unhappy. What happened to my daughter wasn't FAIR. What was happening to our family wasn't FAIR. What was on my shoulders wasn't FAIR.
And then something happened. And I'm not going to try to explain it, and I'm not even going to delve into the background events that brought on this change, but the result of the past few months is that a light switch turned on in my head. It was time to live like this:
Being unhappy is a choice. And I have been choosing it for a long time. And you know what that got me? More unhappiness. Because the world doesn't care if you are unhappy. The only people who are being affected by your unhappiness are you and those who care the most about you. It didn't matter what was FAIR. This is what it is. So how am I going to turn what I have into the best it can be? How am I going to turn the ingredients of my life into a feast? I realized I was starting with top notch components: amazing children; a hard-working, often neglected, partner; a supportive family; a tremendous circle of friends; and I was letting these ingredients go to waste. And time was passing. And I wasn't going to get it back.
So, then something amazing happened: When I turned on the light, I could SEE. I could see the incredible blessings all around me. I could see all of the good things that were coming our way that I had not been fully appreciating. I could see the tiny miracles in every day. And now I can truly say:
Thank you, friends. Thank you for sticking by me through the dark as I clawed my way back into the light. Thank you for holding my hand and crying with me and never making me feel like I didn't have the right. I hope I can begin to return the light you have lent to me, now that I have found my own