What Lies Within

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.”

insecurityWalking 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.

Author: Shelley Colquitt • Date: 7/12/2013

About the Author

Shelley Colquitt is the mommy of two beautiful girls, Lauren and Zoe. Her youngest daughter was born at 40 weeks. As she was celebrating the success of the labor and delivery, her baby stopped breathing. Later, her daughter was diagnosed as having a rare disease that only 163 babies in the world had at the time (11 years ago). She had to learn to take care of a baby who had a trach and was on life support machines 24 hours a day.

Not only is Shelley busy with her two girls and works very hard to keep her youngest chronic medically complex child healthy, she also volunteers at a shelter for abused/neglected children and also volunteers as a teacher’s aid for children who are globally delayed. She writes about the ups and downs of dealing with a child who is complex, chronically and critically ill.  Read her blog at http://confessionsofasleepdeprivedmomma.blogspot.com/

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