The Joys: Life with My Special Daughter

The reason I write is to help others. When I started out on this journey with my baby, I was young at age 23. I would have loved to have blogs from other parents and caregivers. The more advice, the better. That doesn't mean I would have had to use it all, and neither do you. But if even one thing helps you, then I have met my purpose. I hope all of you will use this piece of advice: focus on the joys!

Hold on to the joy and let it bring more joy. You will be able to look back and know you enjoyed the time with your child, no matter how much care is involved. Write the joys down from small things to big things, because even small things are big. Take photos to look back on these moments.

I think we all sometimes get so caught up with our busy schedules and caring for our children that we can lose sight of the joys our children bring to our lives. I want to lighten things up a little bit with some fun stories, and some heartwarming things that show how much purpose our special children have.

Where do I begin? There are so many joys.

One summer, when Emma was nine years old, we had a yard filled with dandelions. Most of us would find a field of yellow dandelions beautiful, but then we all know they are considered "weeds," so we mow them down. Dandelions serve many purposes, including health benefits, so are they really weeds?

That summer, Emma was thrilled with them. I have pictures of her pulling them and carefully holding them in one hand while pulling them with the other. She brought them to me, just as most children do. They were displayed in a vase on the table and left there much longer than their short hour-long lifespan.

The most memorable part of the dandelion summer was when it was time to mow. When she saw the mower start out on the path of destruction, she ran out the door waving her arms all around and proceeded to yell, "No, yellow, yellow, yellow!"

She was devastated, so at the time, it broke my heart. I comforted her while explaining why we mow them. This is a reminder to me, and to all of us, to look at and care about the beauty all around us, and to care for God's earthly gifts.

We all have a purpose on this Earth.

I have witnessed my daughter's purpose many times. One day, we were at the grocery store deli counter. Ahead of us was a man by himself in a wheelchair. Emma was four years old when she walked up to this man and put her hand on his shoulder. The two of them looked into each other's eyes and neither said anything.

My daughter is speech-impaired, so she really couldn't say anything. They spoke with their eyes. She in some way comforted him, bringing tears to his eyes. It brought tears to my eyes as well, and it's a moment I will never forget. It is moments like these that I hold on to and that bring the heart joy.

The next joy that comes to mind is one that I hope will encourage some of you starting out.

The joy of Special Olympics

Emma did skills in basketball, track, and bowling. She was a part of Special Olympics from elementary school through high school. The complete joy of watching not only her, but her friends too, was extremely heartwarming. When they win their medals or ribbons, the excitement makes it impossible not to smile.

The friendships and bonds that our children make with being a part of Special Olympics is beautiful and so healthy for them. It truly builds confidence and a passion for achievement. They work so hard, but have so much fun at the same time. To be surrounded by so much excitement and happiness feels so good for everyone.

Horseback riding is very therapeutic and brings about a purpose of taking care of another of God's creatures. Emma didn't just ride the horses, she was taught the importance of brushing them, petting them, and visiting them. The therapeutic horses are like big puppy dogs. They love the human who spends time with them. This brings such a wonderful feeling of togetherness and is heartwarming and peaceful.

In today's world, there are even more activities and groups that put on wonderful events for people with disabilities.

Movies, painting, dancing, prayer groups, and game nights

So many things bring our children joy. If you don't know of any organizations such as this, check with your schools. Most groups like this leave literature about themselves with the school office. Other parents and teachers are always an excellent resource, too.

Most of these things give parents and caregivers joy as well, because they might get much-needed rest or their own outing with friends. Or maybe their joy comes from being present while their children are involved in their activities.

Tim Tebow Foundation's Night to Shine Prom

The last one I want to mention, which is the current joy in my daughter's life, is the Tim Tebow Foundation's (TTF) Night to Shine Prom. This amazing prom is held each year the Friday before Valentine's Day.

It is such a wonderful evening with a walk along the red carpet while everyone cheers in a greeting of excitement. Then on to the free photo shoot, free dinner, and a free DJ playing dance music. Just about everyone in the room is on that dancefloor.

All of this is totally free. I know the saying is "nothing in life is free," but this really is. The Tim Tebow Foundation gives so many adults with disabilities a night to be kings and queens. I cannot come up with any words to express my gratitude for what TTF does. "Thank you" just does not feel like enough.

Tim Tebow Foundation's Night to Shine Prom

I believe it is important to focus as much as we can on the joys in life. When we are caring for another human, we can lose sight of the joy. It seems our concerns are best met on other matters, but this could not be further from the truth. The best advice I can give is to tell all of you to focus on and hold on to the joys that life with your special child brings.

About the Author

Jeana Crouse

Jeana Crouse is passionate about helping awaken the strengths of special needs parents and caregivers along this journey. She cherishes the opportunity to help others gain clarity and insight into life's questions. Some of her favorite hobbies include writing, reading, gardening, and travel.

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Date: 6/23/2023 12:00:00 AM


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