I've been a special needs parent for over a decade and I'm only 34 years old. Special needs parenting is different for everyone. Having said that, I think we can probably agree that while it can absolutely be exhausting, it's also rewarding as well. If you're reading this, you probably know me from my personal blog, Lost and Tired. For those of you that don't know me, I'm the father of 3 boys with Autism and various other special needs. These special needs range from issues with sensory processing disorder and anxiety to things like schizoaffective disorder and reactive attachment disorder. This doesn't even begin to touch on the medical issues. In my family we pretty much have a little bit of everything. Life is exhausting, overwhelming and full of stress. It's really easy to find myself drowning in all of the various things I have in my life. I'm also the first person to admit that many times, the glass is half empty. I prefer to deal with reality and so you won't find me viewing the world through rose colored glasses very often. Having said that, I'm also very happy with my life. No, I'm not crazy, I just see things differently. It's true, if I told you my kids were a handful, that would be the understatement of the year. However, while they are challenging to parent, they are also absolutely amazing. I decided many years ago, that I was going to not only spend the rest of my life teaching my children but learning from them as well. My kids have taught me more in the short time they have been on this planet, then I learned in all my years of schooling. I could go on for days about all the ways that my kids are truly amazing but I want to instead mention a few things that I feel are really important. The single biggest thing my kids have taught me, is to appreciate the little things and never take anything for granted. I realize that may sound cliche but it's absolutely the truth. In my house, we celebrate what I have dubbed as, Today's Victory. Basically, no matter how bad the day may have been, I find at least one thing to celebrate. It could be something as seemingly simple as trying a food they have never tried before. Maybe they went potty, all by themselves or got themselves dressed. Heck, I can't tell you how many times we celebrated the fact that our youngest Emmett, actually wore clothes, for at least part of the day. That's huge for both him and us. Many people would be like, so what, my kids wear clothes all the time, what's the big deal? For starters, my kids have sensory issues and so they are often times uncomfortable in their own skin. Factor in itchy clothes and they can be downright miserable or even in pain. Anytime my son can work through these obstacles and actually wear clothes, even for a little while, it's cause for celebration in my book. My kids have inspired me to not only be a better parent or father, but a better all around person. I'm always amazed at how my kids never give up. They try and try again. Sure they might get frustrated but who doesn't get frustrated from time to time? The fact that they get right back up and keep pushing forward, regardless of their actual pace, is truly something to be admired. Look, I'm not an overly positive person that believes in sugar coating everything. I say it like I see it. There are plenty of days where I swear I don't have the strength to keep going. I have just decided to pay attention to the things that many others gloss over. I realized that the even the smallest ripple in the water makes waves. Do you celebrate Today's Victories in your house? What are some of the things you celebrate? Please share below in the comments for we can celebrate with you. :-)
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