Read below for a guest post from Lee Fisher.
Everyone says “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Well, that is good advice, but by the same token I am learning (after 14 years with a special-needs child) that you must also celebrate the small stuff. Be grateful. Keep a thankful list. That sounds so good on paper, but it is hard when everyone else is going to Disney World and soccer while you are going to doctors’ or therapy appointments. God is quite clear that he does not want us to be bitter and jealous, but over the past years I have found this is not an easy thing to do. But even though it isn’t easy, you must guard your heart and take heart in the small stuff.
If you take a look at Fakebook Facebook, you will see many pictures of wonderful beach vacations this summer. (They don’t put the ones where the kids are fighting…) What does your summer look like? Mine? Well, we have had meltdowns, screaming, and gnashing of teeth. BUT we have also had …
One trip last summer involved getting a new van, sticking our hands out the sunroof and yelling while going down a hill. Finding a baby deer, spotting a celebrity (that one was for mom), finding a good parallel parking place (again for mom), and getting milk-free ice cream. It sounds mundane, but honestly that trip brought us so much joy. I would choose it over a long tired day at Disney (maybe).
Our “play dates” look different. My son has friends who are 10 and friends who are 20 years old. (Some are paid helpers, but to my son they are friends.) You can’t get a teenage girl babysitter for a teen boy. And helpers are sometimes hard to find, but I am able to write this because God gave us a new college-age buddy just this week. This provides fun time for my son but also a bit of respite for me.
We are currently homeschooling (although I made two school visits this morning, so I am not tied to it). It is important especially when homeschooling to find places to go in the community. But when you have a child with potentially challenging behaviors, you really don’t enjoy going to the local Target. We have found some interesting places to go, including a raw juice place, an ice cream shop at 11 a.m. (don’t go in the evening of a hot day), the post office after hours to pick up supplies, a gluten free bakery, and small grocery stores. I wouldn’t call these all “fun,” but they are the “small stuff” that has helped my son grow and learn how life is done.
We will have a birthday in a couple of weeks. That is a call for celebration. But without a lot of friends it can be a big disappointment for all. We have recently found a house church (we have rarely gone to church as a family because of difficulties there; perhaps another post on that some day). This church welcomes my “unfiltered” child. They adore him. We are meeting right around his birthday, and I will ask them to each write a note of encouragement to him. Short or long, it doesn’t matter. And we will bake a gluten- and dairy-free brownie cake without frosting (his choice). We may also take a buddy or two for a round of laser tag. But that will be our celebration, and we must learn to celebrate!!
If we are ever offered up a free private flight to Disney World, and a quick pass to all the rides as well as a helper to come along, I may actually tackle that. As for now, we stick with celebrating the small stuff.
How do you celebrate the small stuff with your family?
Born and raised in Michigan, Lee Fisher has overcome many obstacles including everything from a childhood medical condition to a hideous perm. She embarked on a technical career with limited interest to her, but went on to marry the love of her life and has been married for 20 plus years. Now a stay at home mom, with much help from Jesus, she homeschools her teenage son with multiple strengths and challenges. Her current interests, in addition to blogging, are Facebook, Jag re-runs, and colorful knitting projects. Find her blog here.