I’ve been struggling for about a week to write a post on the topic of “Healing.” Barbara over at Therextras is doing a blog carnival on the topic and I SO badly wanted to participate.
I’m not really a writer, though, and I struggle to write on an assigned topic .
I’ve probably written two pages on the topic—trying my best to put into words the feelings I have about my child’s birth and how I coped with it. This is not my best, but it’s what I’ve got.

I know that Charlie’s birth changed my life dramatically, but I have no measuring stick to compare it by. Every person’s life changes when they have a baby (except maybe JLo—the woman just ran a marathon—clearly she has a staff). I have no way of knowing whether or not my feelings were that different from the average person’s.

I do know that I had a lot of anxiety about Charlie’s future—would I be able to take care of him? How bad would his disabilities be? In some ways, just moving forward into the future has changed that. Some of my greatest fears came true—like epilepsy and vision problems—but many did not. Charlie is responsive and smiles and laughs. He loves toys and eats like a horse. He has a personality and preferences. Also, however, by having some of the worst happen, I found that I would survive. My husband and I talked honestly about Charlie’s future; we weighed some worst-case scenarios and decided that we could live with them.

We did what we could not to wallow in the grief. We watched John Stewart and allowed ourselves to laugh. We went out to eat and watched funny sitcoms. We invited people over to eat dinner. In short, we went on with our lives.

I think it’s important not to let your child’s disability define who you are. We are all more than one thing. I am a wife, mother, Christian, sister, daughter, teacher, and friend. It is always important to remember this and it is just as important when you have a loved one with a disability. You will inevitably feel resentful if your life is being lived for someone else.

I think that it’s important to realize that having a child with a disability is the same as so many other things in life: It’s not what you wanted, but it’s also an opportunity. When I took a job teaching inner-city kids, it wasn’t something I thought I could do. I’d been warned that it would be difficult and being a young, privileged woman didn’t help my cause. But I did it. I took that job and I am SO proud of the work I did there. I grew as a professional and as a person. I changed in many ways for the better and found out things about myself that I didn’t know before. I became stronger.

Being Charlie’s mother has been like that. I am a better person, and I don’t mean it in that bitter way that I sometimes see people writing about. I don’t mean that I’m a better person because I had to give up my selfish lifestyle and live for someone else. I’m a better person because Charlie inspires me. He ignites my passion and fuels my determination. I’m not a better person because I take care of my child—that just makes me a mother. I’m a better person because knowing Charlie has enabled me to grow and change in ways that I am proud of.

I’ve come to realize that perfect healing probably isn’t in the cards for Charlie or me. We will go forward carrying the scars of our journey. That doesn’t make us less, and hopefully we can use what we learn to become better than we were.

I have this obsession with teen dramas and most recently I’ve been on One Tree Hill. Today one of the main characters gave a speech and one of the things he said really rang true, “Maybe you’ll get everything you wished for. Maybe you’ll get more than you ever imagined.” I think that about sums it up.

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  1. This is beautiful, Bird. Thank you so much. Barbara

  2. Your words about Charlie explain exactly how I feel about Emmaline. What a blessing it is to have these special little ones in our lives!

  3. I so wish I knew you & Charlie in person. This is beautiful and I relate to it in so many ways. Thank you!

  4. Not having read the others, You still get my vote! Thanks for the example of compassion and care that have become the person you are. Charlie is one lucky fellow to have such a mom. Blessings to you. :) Kent

  5. I love what you’ve written. And just the glimpse I get of your life through your blog makes me wish that I knew you guys in real life.

  6. Small Town Girl says:

    You are such an amazing mom. Very nice job writing about it.

    I’m into the teen dramas too. Have you watched the new 90210??

  7. Beautifully said, as always =)

  8. Nadine Hightower says:

    And I’m very proud of you!

  9. White Hot Magik says:

    So true, so true. Can you imagine all the things we would have missed if life worked out like we had wanted? Excellent post.

  10. Rural Felicity says:

    beautiful. :)

  11. Sometimes what you write is better than you ever imagined!

    I think you did an excellent job. Healing is such an individual thing and is really a multi-phase thing. And sadly, just when you think you are ‘healed’ something happens which causes you to realize that you are still on that healing path.

  12. Well if that doesn’t capture “healing” then I don’t know what will–and I gotta count this as one of your best posts. You are an amazing person all around and you’ve been able to really touch people through your writing.

  13. That was a great post.

    I don’t think either that there’s such a thing as “perfect healing” – you carry the scars and they help make you the person you are.

  14. that was beautiful! i also am a sucker for teen dramas….do you watch gossip girl? i just got done watching the first season on dvd…im hooked.

  15. I was just thinking a few days ago about how Grace has made me look at life and people differently. There is less pity in my heart for people that are different and more understanding. I just see them as people now…just like me only different. I don’t think I’ll ever be healed but I was wounded before Grace and I only continue to be but I do believe I am a better person because I have her.

    Love your blog…and your writing!!!

  16. It seems we are both reflecting lately… is that what happens after a year or so. You can finally do this with some clarity? Yes, our kiddos do certainly inspire. And yes, he has changed me and we will also carry these experiences with us – good and bad – for the rest of our lives. I think back to the quote I posted recently (“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.” – Helen Keller). And I agree – it is so important to remember our “selves.” I was able to do this recently also and realized that I am a passionate mom, wife, friend, daughter, community member and that these things, in combination, give me great joy and satisfaction. In fact, before O was born, I don’t know that I was able to appreciate all the selves that I was or could be. I so enjoyed this posting – you are such an inspiring mama!

  17. you gotta wonder says:

    Beautiful perspective, and well said.

  18. Nancy Douglas says:

    What a wonderful post. I know what you mean. I am the parent of an autistic girl. You are on the right track. Stay strong!