I never dreamed that a Google search would stir up so much emotion. Several therapists have told us that Mikayla & Hope would benefit from an iPad. So, I decided to start looking into getting one. I clicked on a link that said iPad for special needs children. A lady posted that her friend had a son with special needs. He had just received a free iPad through their state government. She said the iPad had unlimited free apps and was used for his therapy. His parents also used the iPad and were downloading apps for their own personal use. Then she asked a question that sent me over the edge. Do you think this is fair to other people who don’t have special needs kids?
Within seconds I was upset. I mean really, really upset. Yes, the parents should buy their own iPad and pay for their own apps. But that is not what upset me. It was the question “Is this fair to people who don’t have special needs kids?” that upset me. It cut through my heart like a knife and I was suddenly overwhelmed with all kinds of thoughts and emotions.
Is it fair that the boy who got the free iPad has special needs?
Is it fair that our twin girls have special needs?
We watched two little girls have a wheelchair race at Easter Seals. Is it fair that those girls can’t walk and our girls can?
We saw a man the other day who was mentally disabled and severely autistic. Is that fair?
Is it fair that I have 4 children while there are women who struggle with infertility?
Is it fair that people in other countries are starving and don’t have clean water and someone in our country is complaining because they can’t get a free iPad?
Obviously, the woman who asked that question does not understand the daily task of caring for someone with special needs. You have to be right in the middle of life with someone with special needs to understand. I didn’t understand until it became our life. And I still don’t fully understand because there are many disorders that our girls don’t have. I would love to have the opportunity to sit down with the lady who asked that question. I would open her eyes to a world that she doesn’t even know exists. I would share the joys and the struggles of having special needs kids. The one thing that I would want her to understand more than anything is that if my girls had an iPad, I would gladly give it up if their problems could just go away. I have a lot of wishes for our life, but “I wish we could have a free iPad” is not one of them.
My wishes are:
I wish I could have a conversation with my husband without any interruptions
I wish I didn’t have to do the Wilbarger therapressure program on our girls every day to reduce their sensory problems
I wish it didn’t take 4 1/2 hours of our time every Monday for our girls to have speech and occupational therapy
I wish our girls wouldn’t have meltdowns in public
I wish I wasn’t exhausted by noon every day
I wish my house was spotless like it used to be
Wishing isn’t going to change my life. Wishing focuses on what I don’t have instead of what I do have. When I am thankful, I am focusing on what I have instead of what I don’t have. Being thankful will change my life.
I am thankful that I have a wonderful husband, even if I can’t have an uninterrupted conversation with him
I am thankful that the therapressure program is helping lessen the girls sensory problems
I am thankful that our girls have 4 amazing therapists who are helping them reach their full potential
I am thankful that I have children who leave me exhausted by noon. Some women are praying, hoping, and waiting for someone to call them mom.
I’m thankful that we have a house to live in, even if it is dirty.
There is one thing that I know without a doubt. I know that life isn’t always fair. It’s not fair when a parent loses a child. It’s not fair when children grow up without their parents. It’s not fair when a couple desperately wants children and struggles to have them. It’s not fair that children are born and they never have the opportunity to walk or talk. It’s not fair that some children have to struggle with special needs every day of their life.
I can’t help but think about Jesus. The crowd chose to free the prisoner, Barabbas and crucify Jesus (Matthew 27:20-23) Jesus had done nothing wrong. Why would the crowd choose to crucify an innocent man and let a notorious prisoner go free? It doesn’t even make sense. Jesus would have never stomped his foot and said “That’s not fair!” He didn’t focus on the fact that what was happening to him wasn’t fair. He focused on what God had called Him to do. He was spit on, mocked, scourged and ultimately died on a cross. His love for us overpowered the unfairness of the situation. He loved us so much that He was willing to die for each and every one of us. He wants us to have the opportunity to invite him into our life, live our life for Him here on earth, and spend eternity with Him in heaven.
We all need to be like Jesus. We shouldn’t focus on the fact that what is happening to us isn’t fair. We need to focus on what God has called us to do. He has called me and my husband to be parents to two little girls with special needs and two girls who don’t have special needs. I often feel like it’s not fair that we have to live this life. But if I focus on our life being unfair, it just makes me miserable. I have to focus on our four girls and being the best mom that I can be. I have to choose to find joy in the journey even when the road is bumpy and I have no idea where the road is going. I have days when I have trouble finding any joy. It seems to be buried somewhere like a treasure and I don’t have a map to show me where to find it. I believe God understands those days. That’s why He gave us His Word. His Word guides us through those bumpy roads. His Word gives us hope when we are feeling hopeless. His word brings us joy when our circumstances don’t. A free iPad with free unlimited apps will not bring us joy or give us any hope. Only God and His Word can give us the joy and the hope that we need when life isn’t fair.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. ~ Psalm 16:11 ~