Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Vessel

Like many parents of children with disabilities, the single biggest issue I worry about is Jack's future. What will he be able to do, how will his life be, will he be happy, will he be safe, who will take care of him if I'm gone? What I have come to realize is that I'm making myself sick with worry over Jack because of his obvious issues and needs while at the same time holding the arrogant assumption that I have nothing to worry about when it comes to my other kids, or me or Mark because we are all healthy. Yet, I know of too many instances where the lives of perfectly healthy children and adults are altered in an instant. When I start to get anxious about Jack's future, I try and remind myself to live in the moment because it's the only thing I can be sure of. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't plan for our kids' future and make every effort to give them the best chance at life. But, I'm learning to accept that I'm giving my children my best, and as long as I do that -- my best is good enough.

In the beginning of this journey, I wanted all the same things for Jack that we all want for our children -- school, sports, friends ... the "normal" life. I was sad because Jack can't play soccer like I envisioned my boys doing before they were born. Even though Eric can play soccer, being a soccer mom isn't all that appealing to me anymore. Because, if I'm really honest with myself, I would never have fit in as a soccer mom even if I didn't have Jack. It's not who I am.

I truly believe that I got Jack because I was supposed to. He was given to me to mold me into the person I am supposed to be. I am not a soccer mom, a PTA mom or a Girl Scout leader - I am the parent of a medically fragile child who was given a mission that I only learned of because of Jack. Before I had Jack, I didn't even know I could write. I was a Biology major in college, I couldn't write a creative thought if my life depended on it. I was not born a leader. I wasn't class president or team captain. I have never liked and still don't like to be in the spotlight. Yet, since Jack was born, I've facilitated two national conferences and started a foundation. I often wonder, who is this person? I am Jack's vessel ... he speaks through me. Our children are our compass and they direct us in what we are supposed to do with our lives -- and theirs.

I believe that each one of us was given our special child for a reason. We just have to open our minds and our hearts and listen to where they tell us to go. We are their vessels ... they were sent to make a difference in this world through us. I don't know all of you well enough to guess at how your children are leading you to make this world a better place. I know of one mom of twin boys with disabilities who is a phenomenal photographer and her view of the world as reflected in her photographs is because of how her beautiful, happy boys have changed her. I believe her photography is her boys' gift to the world. The way I see it, that gift is just as important as those given by children who will become engineers, doctors or teachers.

Each one of us will make a profound difference in this world -- maybe not on a large scale, but we will make this world a better place because of our children. They were given to us for a reason and if we stop and listen with our hearts, they will lead us in the right direction.


kristy said...

Love it! You are a great writer. You have the discipline, the ability and the motivation--Jack. Thanks for shring your thoughts. So often, I'm thinking the same thing, and what you write helps me and supports me. I appreciate you and what you do!

Melisande said...


Thanks for the words of wisdom. I've shared them with Ben and I think it has a lot of meaning for him as well these days!

Love ya lady!!

julie said...

You are amazing Ann! Jack is so lucky to have you ((HUGS))

Dana said...

Wow Ann that says volumes. I too know I must do more for others out their with special needs kids. I am just searching for that direction. My shyness is my limiting factor. Hopefully I can find my role in this crisis lifestyle. thanks for this post I needed it.