My upbeat attitude about my son and his special needs was tampered when she cynically responded with, "So what do you deal with every day?"
I stumbled over my words because I usually talk about how Isaac has special needs and then share that he is the funniest person I know, but that wasn't what she was looking for; she was searching for the downside.
I guess I "deal with" a lot of things and many of them add challenges to my day, but I choose not to act like everything is a burden. This does not mean that I handle this messy life better than the next person. It brings me to tears to think about everything we have been through with Isaac and I grieve for my son and the times in his life when he will not be accepted because of his differences, but I would be a miserable person if I held onto that grief day in and day out. My son would simply be a "job" if I focused on the fact that parts of life may be more challenging because God decided to create Isaac with all but a little missing piece of chromosome nine.
I choose to appreciate the lessons I have learned. I choose to show my daughter that differences are a good thing; that disabled doesn't mean unlovable or unknowing. I choose to teach her to take life slow because you might miss something beautiful otherwise. I choose to show her that God creates perfection in a variety of ways.
"Is having a child with a disability a curse or a blessing? A cross or an anchor? A barrier to what I really want to do, or a lightening rod for my priorities? [...] So many people search endlessly for 'meaning' in their lives, often resisting the meaning that is right there. The point is not that we are lucky to have a child with a disability because it gives our lives instant meaning. The point is that to be presented with this event, and to fail to engage it as an opportunity--for focus, for meaning, for learning and growth, for a way to affect the world we live in--is to miss the experience that life has offered us" (229).
I choose for Isaac to know that in this place, he is perfect. I choose for Isaac to trust my presence as his personal warrior and cheerleader (Isabella, too). I choose inclusion, peace, and acceptance.
From, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
'"The practice of giving thanks...eucharisteo...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see'" (135).