These last couple of days I've spent out of my house at back to school inservice for teachers. And one thing I love about getting in a room with a bunch of teachers that I work with is the flow of ideas and the collaboration that happens. As I was sitting with a group, and we were supposed to be talking about how to better and more effectively integrate technology into our unique classroom setting, one teacher started talking about shifting our perspective of things to get kids to buy in. She is a math teacher, and she was specifically talking about how culturally, we talk down about math. But then she started using other examples, like creating a facebook page/personality for AIMS testing (our state test), then she looked at me (she reads this blog, and has a niece who is like Sadie) and she used me as an example of embracing something that is usually seen as negative in our culture and turning it into something beautiful and positive.
So, I started thinking about that...
There's a commercial that's been on lately while we've been watching the Olympics for an insurance company, and the whole thing is about where you belong. It starts out showing a couple with a brand new baby and says, "do you belong with the up-all-nighters?" and then shows a number of different situations and continually asks, "do you belong with..." After seeing this a couple of times, I blurted out to the TV, "I belong with the speshies."
So, when this teacher used me as an example of changing our mindset, I couldn't help but think about how my mindset has changed about parenting, about having a child with special needs, and about life in general since Sadie was born. When I was pregnant (and really all my life before that) my biggest fear about having children was that I would have one with a severe disability who would never be independent enough to leave home...ever. And I even remember telling my mom in the NICU that this was the ONE THING I was afraid of when having children, and here I am facing my biggest fears. And I was still scared, but I wanted Sadie so badly, I didn't care how special her needs were gonna be.
And my mindset has changed.
I love Sadie. She is my world. I love to show her off, I love to talk about her, I love to make her smile and kiss her all over. Sure, I'm still scared...there are a lot of scary things ahead, but it doesn't matter anymore. It doesn't matter that Sadie will probably live with us for the rest of our lives, or her life. It doesn't matter that we are probably going to need a wheelchair van in the future. It doesn't matter that she'll have an IEP (individual education plan, used for kids in special education) for the rest of her life. It doesn't matter that she'll never drive or live in her own apartment or get married or have children. All that matters is that she's mine and I'm her mom and I love her.
And so I belong with the speshies, because that's where I WANT to be...and really, it's not that scary anymore when I get to see this face everyday.