by Shelley Colquitt
A wise man named Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Walking this “new normal” road of special needs is hard by every account. I know that once my daughter Mighty Z finally made her way home from hospital after spending her first six months of life in the NICU, what lay behind me was in many ways a safe haven. Although I longed to have her home with our family, at the time I had no idea what the reality of having her home would be like, especially the overwhelming responsibility to care for, and to keep alive, a baby who was as medically fragile as Mighty Z was at six months old.
I truly felt that I could not do this job, and although I never told a soul of the insecurities that surrounded me, I found true courage. It was not in a loud roar, but in a tiny voice inside my heart saying, “I will do this again tomorrow,” as I laid my head against my pillow and cried myself to sleep every night for months. Sometimes I still do. But that whisper kept saying, “I will do this again.”
You see, I had no idea what lay within me. I only saw the imperfection, inadequacies, and the fear that dwelt so close to the surface. Only after several years of walking down this road did I start to see in myself what truly was the strong foundation within me. Doctors and nurses began to ask not just what I thought, but began to ask for my advice. It wasn’t that I was so educated and so knowledgeable, it was the fact that I had pushed through for my daughter. Even though fear and anxiety washed over me like a tidal wave (and still does), I pushed through that. I let that wave of fear and anxiety hit me and then I pushed through it. I do so silently, most times, simply because when the waves start to wash over me, I have to react to what is going on with Mighty Z immediately, and there can be no hesitation.
When you embark on this “new normal” road of special needs, you might feel the same way, and you might look around you and think, “There is no way I can do this…I just can’t do this.” You might see the others that walk this road and think that they are handling it better. You may feel that what lies within you is nothing but imperfection, inadequacy, and fear.
But that is not really the case. You are made of sterner stuff then you think. You do have the courage. Just listen to that little voice that says, “I will do this again,” even if you cry yourself to sleep.