After finding out I am a special needs mother, the kind hearted woman looked at me with sadness. Perhaps she thought of someone in her family raising a special needs child. Perhaps she grieved the loss of potential for my son. Perhaps she wondered how she would handle raising a special needs child.
Success & Achievement
In a world where success and achievement are measured by accomplishments; a disability connotates non-ability. The ability to not achieve, thrive, reach for the stars or obtain greatness. But, I believe, this is not so.
My son’s achievements include surviving birth (a miracle), coming home from the hospital, getting off his ventilator (a second miracle), crawling, playing with pots and pans, and having the grandest belly laugh I know, among other milestones. This most enduring ability to smile and laugh is one of Samuel’s greatest character qualities. Oh, that we would learn from his example, myself included.
Special Needs Achievements
Therefore, I submit, a person with special needs has the capacity and the ability to inspire. A person with special needs brings great joy to those who know and love them. A person with special needs gives others the opportunity to love and receive nothing in return. A person with special needs reveals a nations capacity to protect, care for and give respect to the least of these.
Raising a special needs child builds character, encourages selflessness, and epitomizes love in one of its greatest forms. A sibling learns compassion first hand by being sensitive to the needs of their brother or sister, sometimes changing the trajectory of their life to become great themselves. This ripple effect goes far and wide.
In my upcoming book, Miracle In My Living Room, there is a section dedicated to the impact my son has had on others. This 25-pound, 25 inch eleven-year-old has his own ripple effect. Marked by hope and by fostering a belief in miracles, Samuel touches the lives of many. This dearest boy of mine who does not walk, talk, have the ability to care for himself or others has become a beacon of hope.
Samuel’s story is not just his story alone. He represents all the hopes and dreams of all special needs children. His value is not based upon disability but upon the capacity to inspire not only those in the special needs community but to all those who are eager to hear stories of hope and miracles. Can we equate this inspiration with greatness? I am biased as Samuel’s mother, but I say, “Yes.”
These stories of inspiration are all around us. They may come in the form of a wee child overcoming all odds or in other stories where we are reminded to believe the best in others and encourage our hearts to live another day well.
What stories have inspired you lately? I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment below. I read each one.
Written By Evelyn Mann
Author, Miracle In My Living Room