The Truth Behind The Smile Of A Special Needs Mom

This morning started out typical. Twenty minutes of quiet before the morning school hustle began, boys fighting over who gets the last of the waffles, and a daughter who is angry she has to go to school. Some texts sent to my sister about how I’m losing my sanity and then finally 7:15 comes around and my three little darlings head off on the school bus. Alone time at last. 

I drank my coffee, made my social media posts, bathed, and then practiced Holy Yoga. Just like I always do. 11:30 rolled around quickly and as I drove to town to get my daughter I sang happily along with the radio. Joy. I was feeling joy as I began speaking to God. 

“Father if there is any part of my life or of my heart that you aren’t present in reveal that too me.” “Show me where you need to come in and what I need to let go off.” Then my daughter hops into the truck and says the same thing she always says “Can we go to Sonic?”

Right then the feelings of this mornings battle washed back over me and I felt God say “this is what your holding on to.” “She is what you have to hand over to me.”

Tears flooded over as I sat at the kitchen table and said “you’re right.” “This isn’t what I signed up for and I’m angry.” I began picturing the dreams that died the moment I heard the words “infantile spasms”, “developmental delay”, “mentally handicap”, “cerebral palsy”…etc. 

I sat for a moment and let myself just grieve the loss of the gymnast or ballerina I was going to have. I grieved those “mom talks” that would take place when she liked a boy for the first time. I grieved prom and her wedding day. Lastly I grieved for the grandchildren that I was suppose to meet the day my baby became a mother. I just let myself cry for a bit.

“God battling my child every day isn’t what I signed up for.” “The unimaginable fits, bathing my nearly 13yr old, dressing her, changing and washing her bedding every day, public meltdowns, and the anger that lays in my heart isn’t what I signed up for.” “Help me let go.”

“God you don’t make mistakes.” “She is fearfully and wonderfully made.” “You knew her before she was ever born and you created her with purpose.” “Help me to see that in the moments of hard.” “Help me to see the way you see.”

He showed me how she dances and doesn’t care who is watching. He showed me how she sings and doesn’t care who is listening. He showed me her strongwill and how it will help her in this world. I saw images of the people in her life that light up when they see her and how much she loves her family. He showed me her forever childlike faith in him and the closeness he shares with her. He also showed me that it’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to be angry and not understand why. God wants us to hand over those feelings to him. He wants to take our mess and he wants to be in the center of our mess. He wants to take the guilt and the anger away. 

I always smile and thank people when they say “she is so sweet.” When in my own mind I’m thinking “you haven’t witnessed the mess that is our life.” And that’s ok. All the feelings we feel are ok. It’s ok to be human. I have feared for so long sharing our struggles because then I would have to admit my feelings of guilt and failure as a mother. But it’s ok to just be real.

I know how blessed I am and I know that God hasn’t given me anything I can’t handle. I was chosen to be her Moma for a reason and I wouldn’t trade my strong-willed girl for anything. I know things didn’t go according to my plan but life is going according to God’s plan. He’s with us through the storms and we just have to trust that our mess is in his hands.

If you’re a special needs parent, I just want you to know God sees you. You’re going to make it through every season of hard. Don’t hide your mess from God. Let him enter it. Much love.

P.S. God also reminded me I wanted boys who would be football players and one says he’ll never play football. (Insert smile here)


2 thoughts on “The Truth Behind The Smile Of A Special Needs Mom

  1. You never know how these things may turn out. I took my autistic daughter to the prom a few years ago as my “date.” We danced. She looked beautiful. She got to go to the prom and I had a great time as well.


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