How My Children with Special Needs Have Changed My Life

A Special Saturday Post that Surpasses My Special Needs Children (& Myself)

Each week, the Special Saturday special needs awareness campaign posts a question for anyone to answer to help spread awareness of special needs issues. This week’s question was: How has my special needs child changed my life. 

That’s one of those questions that is a double-edges sword. Because your life arbitrarily changes course when you have a special needs child. In our case, our lives shifted a bit more with each child and each new diagnosis. Our lives have changed so much, as a result, that I don’t think I can point to one point or one moment where everything changed, where ‘the special needs child’ changed our lives.

Each child, special needs or not, changes the portrait of a family

Because to us, this life is like a series of snapshots, with each child born, and each new diagnosis, shifting the melody that is our life, the life of this strange and quirky Moody family. We are not the smae little family that was formed upon the birth of one child who’s eyes were almost white.

But in the same way we are also not the same family re-formed upon the birth of Andy just over a year later, when they literally thought he and I would not make it through the birth and his little body looked so very out of place in that NICU isolette.

And four years later, we were re-formed yet again after the hellacious pregnancy and birth of our youngest. Told from my first OB_GYN appointment that the pregnancy was doomed, that his heartbeat was too faint and he wouldn’t be with us for long, Logan became the heart of this family as he proved, from the beginning, that he is a tenacious fighter.

The real story of a special needs family

That, I think, is the story of this family. One of hope, of change, of reformation and love. Logan encapsulates it so well because he’s the little engine that could in capracious kid form — he has never met a challenge he didn’t know how to tackle head on. After so many years in the fight, this family is the same – we keep chugging along and never say quit.

When the deck is stacked against us, the Moody’s might make you laugh, might make you cry, but you’ll never mistake us for being out of the race.

God has blessed us with these three unique and amazing special needs children, but they are so much more than their diagnoses. You see, they are Moodys first. And with that designation they become fighters and champions in this always changing landscape we call our lives.

Has our life changed because of our special needs kids? *looks at the gray hairs in the mirror* Yep. Our lives have changed for the better, because we have been blessed, daily, with examples of what it takes to live life well despite the odds. Or in spite of them.

Why I couldn’t be silent

This was a quick post because I couldn’t let this week’s Special Saturday pass me by without offering a message of sorts. As special needs parents, we are often challenged to explain ‘what it’s like’ or ‘what’s the hardest thing’ or even ‘how do you do it’? Rarely do folks who aren’t also living the special needs kind of life get that those questions aren’t the ones really worth answering. Marking, honoring, recognizing that our lives are different, yes, but they are our own–this is something we can be fiercely protective of and try to put into words, because awareness of what it’s like to be a special needs parent doesn’t grow by being put on a pedestal , but in acknowledging that we’re living in the trenches. And it’s hard. But we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

How about you? 

Did you participate in Special Saturday by blogging, on Facebook, or via Twitter? What’s your story about how having a special needs child has changed you, your family, your life?

Katrina Moody

Katrina Moody

Graphic Designer, Wordpress Addict, Blogger at Kat's Media & More
I'm a special needs parent before just about everything else in life, but also a passionate advocate for my three boys and husband, who all have a bit of awesomeness about them. Awesomeness = Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, and more. It all adds up to some awesome kids and an amazing family.
Katrina Moody
Katrina Moody
  • http://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/ Leah Kelley

    What a beautiful post Katrina. Eloquent!!
    Here is the post I shared for this week’s Special Saturday: How my boy with autism has changed my life… I notice and appreciate the little things… http://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/more-about-fitting-in-or-not/

    • Katrina

      *grabs a cup of coffee* Thanks Leah! I’ll be adding your post to read as well – I wrote previously about appreciating the small things in life … and it was posted at another site I write for, called Prime Parent’s Cafe. I might see about posting snippets to those posts, with links back the main site, because they were very well received. In any case – I love my online friends and think we learn as much from each other as we do from this adventure called special needs parenting. Know what I mean?

  • http://manifestyournextmate.com/ Kelly

    I have a belief – a little mantra I say to say myself when I’m going through big challenges – that goes like this: “God doesn’t give us anymore than we can handle, therefore, I must be able to handle this.”

    It sounds like all of you in your family are able to take on this challenge and that it is making you much stronger for it. God Bless.

    • Katrina

      Kelly – I love that mantra and swear by it, even though I know lots of special needs parents who feel almost resentful of that statement. TO me, it’s a comfort that no matter how hard I think things are, someone above has faith in my ability to handle it.

      I like to think we all do the best we can with the challenges we face in our lives. Sometimes we cope better than others … but it’s all a learning experience in this big show we call life. :-)

  • Solvita

    Thanks for this great article Kat. My child changed my life a lot and and he is special. We are so blessed to have special needs child thanks to God and I am proud to be his mum! :)

  • http://www.themediamix.com Linda Yarbrough

    Thanks Kat for your perspective on the changes in your family. I’ll be Tweeting your link in my effort to help you spread awareness of special needs issues.

  • Liz

    My 3 best friends from college all have children with special needs. I always prayed for them and their children and hoped that they got the best of care and worried. I wondered how I had escaped and not had a child with a serious problem and felt guilty and lucky. I did not learn until my daughter was an adult and on her own that I had raised a child with problems. She was just my little girl and I thought she was unique and amazing. When you have a special child I think you just feel like all parents do; filled with awe and wonder at the blessing that the child is. I am grateful that God blessed me with my child that was special. Like you, I have seen the world differently and would not change a thing.

    • Katrina

      So nicely said Liz! I know your friends must greatly appreciate your steady and prayerful influence in their lives. Having special children doesn’t discount the challenges that all other parents face as well. At the end of the day we simply moms and dads who are blessed and awed by our wonderful children. *hugs* We do learn a little more about the world around us, though. And it is a complex and beautiful, if slightly hurty, kind of thing!

  • http://www.JenniferHerndon.com Jennifer

    What a wonderful story Katrina. I love your reference to Logan – your little engine that could. One of my little guys was born at 2 lbs, 10 oz and all his life people have told me to have lower expectations of him. Lucky for him, he doesn’t understand that he’s suppose to operate under those limitations!

    • Katrina

      Jennifer – it’s amazing what folks will tell you NOT to expect before challenging you to expect the world for your special needs child. Logan is truly my little engine that could – and I have never felt so blessed as when I hear his giggle and see his smile. :-) his hugs are pretty awesome too! I love that my guys have no concept of what others think about them (well, Andy is starting to, bless his heart, and he’s my sensitive guy so I worry about that! Ah a post for another day!)

      I love how our special kids tend to prove to the world they are more capable of living in it than we are! *hugs* Thanks so much for stopping by Jennifer, and for sharing a bit of yourself as well!

  • http://drmommyonline.com Dr. Daisy Sutherland

    Love, love, love your story…our children are all special gifts from God and we must truly cherish every moment we are blessed by them!! Hugs to you!!

  • http://www.whatlittlethings.com Samantha Bangayan

    Wow, Kat! What a story! I loved how you mention hope, change, reformation and love. It’s exactly this warmth I feel when I’m here at your blog whether you’re talking about your own family or others’. I also get a sense for your family’s tenacity, something that I truly admire about you and the Moodys. “We keep chugging along and never say quit.” — this is a line I’ll remember and one that I hope to implement in my own life and the challenges I face. Thank you so much for being an inspiration, friend!

    • Katrina

      Thanks a bunch Sam … it’s so easy to only focus on the negative (and some days I am hard-pressed not to do just that) but I’ve found it so important to try, try, try to focus on the positive, any of the positive, that you can. My guys are truly tenacious characters, and they have met the challenges in their lives full steam ahead. I think we all, deep inside us, have that ability to look beyond the moment and focus on the journey, the hope, the future. That doesn’t mean the challenges don’t sometimes depress us and stop us, because they do, but for all the moments that I stop and lift my head up to Him to say “I can’t do this!” there is a corresponding moment where I can also lift my head in thanks and tell Him “I didn’t know we could do it, but we did!” I find inspiration in everyone else’s story, and never my own ;-)

  • Pingback: Cerebral Palsy and Life With Cerebral Palsy

  • Angelle

    Hello, thank you for posting! it really inspires me a lot! The comments are really great and I’m glad to read about it even I can’t relate much but still I appreciate the post :)thanks for sharing the stories :)

  • http://frugallivingtip.com frugal living

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.