I promise to talk to my special child as though she understands me even if I know she does not. There may be a time when she will understand, and I would not want to miss it because of an assumption.
I promise to not be too disappointed if she never does understand something I have said. Because even if she cannot understand some of the complexities of life and language, somehow she still knows that I love her and she loves me right back.
I will celebrate her accomplishments and compare her only to herself.
I will be a tireless advocate for her.
I will do my best to take care of myself. I will shower regularly, have girls nights out, get a pedicure occasionally, and read that book I've been meaning to get to.
I will ask for help when I need it.
I will learn when to let things go and when to keep fighting. I will pick my battles carefully and my friends even more so.
When appropriate, I will take our family on vacations and allow us to experience the world together.
I will not make excuses for my special child nor bring attention to her unnecessarily, even if it means swallowing my pride when she makes a scene instead of trying to defend my mothering skills to judgmental strangers.
I will remain approachable to typical moms. I will not make them feel guilty for the milestones their children are meeting but instead will rejoice with them. I will not scoff if they say that mothering is hard because I know it to be true for all of us.
I will not bother with the impulse toward one-up-man-ship of who has it worse than whom.
I promise to cultivate conversations that do not center around diagnoses, individualized education plans, adaptive equipment, medications and the like. I likely will talk about those things but in moderation.
I will treat everyone with the grace and dignity they deserve and remember that while we may have similar circumstances we do not necessarily share the same opinions. I can only speak for myself and my child. I cannot expect to know how anyone else is thinking or coping.
I will reach out to new moms who are just starting this journey. I will answer direct questions and give my opinions, but I will not liken my advice to that of a doctor nor will I judge them for the choices they eventually make. I will not pretend that this is a black and white world we find ourselves in.
I will practice the gospel of "whatever works for you and your family."
When someone is going through a tough situation, I will refrain from saying, "I know exactly how you feel" and will instead say, "That must be difficult for you."
I will share my special daughter's story without expecting everyone else's world to stop turning as mine did when we got The News.
I refuse to wear a chip on my shoulder or throw myself a pity party.
I will never give up hope.♦