Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Personal Cornucopia: A Diagnosis of Abundance

-Originally posted on November 27, 2008 at www.exceptionalfamilies.net

Well, the allergy-free pies are baked and the kitchen looks like a tornado came through it. Now the house is quiet and my mind is actively figuring out all of the details for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving soiree. Amidst this flurry of thought, I find myself reflecting on Thanksgiving. No, I’m not talking Pilgrims and Indians, or even a chaotic turkey dinner with family. I’m talking about Thanksgiving in terms of personal meaning. Giving thanks. Thankfulness. Reasons to be thankful.

When you have a child with special needs, or in my case, two, it is often difficult to get past the challenges and negatives constantly barraging you. Oh, the struggles! There are so many to face and overcome! It can be completely exhausting. I have plenty of things worthy of complaining about, but I would rather have an attitude of hope and thanks.

By purposely placing myself in the perspective of “thanksgiving,” it reaffirmed that our diagnosis was not one of shortcomings, but rather of plenty. Last night I attended an event for special needs families, and the speaker talked about how in the Chinese language the symbol for “crisis” is the same symbol as for “opportunity.” What a moment of clarity!

I have so much to be thankful for! Our diagnosis experience has truly been an opportunity for the entire family. Since we started down this road, we have all learned and grown so much. Our family is closer, especially because my husband and I chose to consciously face everything together. My immersion in learning about how to help my kids has made me a better parent. This experience has facilitated some self-discovery that I may not have ever undergone. I know that I have the strength to do this difficult job of parenting my special boys. Their progress is continual, and for that I thank God. There are multitudes of other reasons to be thankful during this time of Thanksgiving, and I feel lucky to have the meaning of each one of them in my life.

The battles won’t end, and the hills will continue to be steep, but there are a lot of things along the way that are beautiful and magnificent to behold. If you are caught up in the vortex of stress and burden, I challenge you to take a quiet moment to discover your personal cornucopia. May it be as rewarding an exercise for you as it was for me.

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