A parent shares how to embrace life with a special needs child

The Pelton family.

The Pelton family resides in Rome, NY.

By Lindsay Pelton

To Parents of Children with Cystic Fibrosis,

That first pregnancy test: joy, happiness, excitement. Everyone says, “Boy or girl, I don’t care, as long as the baby is healthy.”

Well, what if the baby is not healthy? What if you are told you have a sick child, physically or mentally? What if you are told your child will have to struggle his whole life just to be “normal?”

You suddenly enter a different world. It is not a horrible world, just different from the one you expected.

You will mourn the loss of the life you thought you would have. Will your life still be happy? Yes. Will there still be joy and excitement? Yes. Will the flowers still bloom in the spring? Yes.

Sooner or later you will realize that the world you entered when you learned your child was not healthy does contain the makings of a happy life, where dreams and hope are still possible. And you will realize that maybe, just maybe, this life could be better than the life you had imagined.

Dylan Pelton

Dylan Pelton

Your child begins to grow, and he is smart, funny and beautiful. He has a zest for life that only a child of his nature could possess. He has so much strength, determination and spirit inside his little soul. This child chose you to raise him, nurture him and teach him about life — although it is almost certain he will teach you more than you will ever teach him. He impacts the lives of those around him. He is a beautiful being, perfect in every way.

Day-to-day life will sometimes be a struggle. But then one day he will smile at you. His laughter will be intoxicating. In this moment, everything will be well and safe. His eyes will reveal the wisdom unique to a special needs child. His eyes appear as though he carries the whole world inside them. He radiates light and love. He is special. He is yours. Your gift.

You have an epiphany. You realize you wouldn’t trade him for all the healthy children in the world. You would rather nurture a sick child than a healthy one, because he needs it more. He is yours for a reason. He has a bigger purpose, and you do, too. You, and only you, can provide your child with the love he needs. He, and only he, can show you that the life you have is better than the one you imagined.

You gain insight that you would have never otherwise received. This child, you realize, is a gift sent to show you a secret about life that most people will never have the privilege to understand. It is an honor to raise this precious child. He is here to teach about love and life. He shows you that in times of pain, there is love.

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