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  • Emily Meagher

what having a child with a disability has taught me

from Abby's mom after 8 years of learning

It has been the most beautiful 8 years of my life being Abby's mom.

Sometimes thinking about those 8 years feels like it has been a whole lifetime.

Sometimes it feels like it all went by so fast in a blink of an eye.

I became Abby's mom at 17 years old. To say she has taught me everything I know now would be an understatement.

Lesson 1:

🌿to enjoy every thing that most take for granted🌿

Life is wild. It is constantly changing. There's so many parts that you have absolutely no control over. There are so many parts with a terrifying amount of room for error. Life is hard. Life is stressful. Life is unexpected. Life is breathtaking.

Some of the most beautiful things about day to day life are the ones that we don't even notice. Abby has taught me to see and celebrate the teeny, tinyest, smallest of moments. Today it might be the slightest weight shift that allows her to lift her opposite leg to take a step. Tomorrow it may be a brave push of her wheel that allows her to roll a little further in her chair. Abby has shown me how many things that I can do so effortlessly and that I severely under appreciate. The joy on her face from the littlest victories throughout her daily life is such a humbling thing to have the opportunity to experience 😌

Lesson 2:

🌿the power of simply being kind🌿

kind·ness /ˈkīn(d)nəs / noun

the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

When Abby is rolling in her chair or walking with her crutches in public, the inital reaction of others is sometimes to pay more attention to her. Maybe to look a little harder at her. To take a second look to see the cause of this happy little girl using a mobility aid. Abby notices this every single time. Sometimes she notices before I do. She becomes shy and self conscious. But seeing Abby’s reaction when we are out and someone says "hi" to her or if someone gives her the simplest compliment on the color of her chair or the style of her hair, a visible layer of confidence comes over her. The way that the simple, kind recognition from others just lights up her whole world is so pure. It often reminds me how it costs absolutely nothing to be kind and that you never know what someone else is going through or how much that the most mundane of encounters could affect the rest of that person's day 💕

Lesson 3:

🌿comparison really is the thief of joy🌿

We all compare. One way or another, it feels inevitable.

I think this one is really hard to navigate when it comes to milestones and standardized assessments that are unavoidable. However, there’s so much more than those things can tell you about the human being in front of you. Even that doesn't make it easier. To watch others thrive in their own abilities while you are working 3-5x harder just to keep up to their slower pace can be so devastating. Theres a quote that comes to mind for this... flowers are pretty but so are christmas lights and they look nothing alike. I feel like this can be related back to comparision outside of a visible factor, too. What flowers require to live their life in a garden is much different than the electricity that allows the Christmas lights to glow. These items will never really be able to be compared to one another but it can be agreed that life is a very beautiful place with both and they can even exsist together to make an incredible pair. One's beauty, needs, or abilities does not dull the other.

Abby has this lovely way about her, being able to be so happy for others even when she is unable to do those things herself. It is beyond admirable and it is one of my favorite things about her ✨

Lesson 4:

🌿to have more patience with myself & with others🌿

It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’re trying to accomplish that you forget to slow down and appreciate where you are right now.

Giving yourself grace and being patient with yourself can go such a long way and you are so beyond worth it. We practice patience a lot with Abby. She can be so hard on herself, especially with fine motor activities and writing. Her disability affects how her brain communicates with her muscles. So while she may know exactly what she needs to do to complete the task, her body physically limits her. We practice taking deep breaths and being creative in finding ways that may work better for her than for us or others. All in all it comes down to slowing down and giving yourself a break. Reminding yourself that you do not need to be capable of doing these things at all times and there is no harm in asking for help. Sometimes trying again tomorrow is the best way anyway 🐢

Lesson 5:

🌿perspective is everything🌿

I could go on and on about this one... but let's save that for another story soon...

The smallest shift is perspective can absolutely change your entire life. Abby is constantly shifting her mindset from what she can’t do, to focusing on what she can. She is constantly finding the joy in each and every moment, even when it is something that challenges her like trying to kick a ball and realizing her brain does not allow her to accurately control the muscles necessary. Even throughout this frustrating moment, she found the light and this is most likely the most powerful lesson that she has taught me of them all 💫


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