I'm feeling so thankful today.
I firmly believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Or, at least it makes it a lot easier. Surrounding yourself and your family with people who love and care about you can only have a good outcome.
I feel this way even more after having Lauren. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes ten villages to raise a child with special needs. At least that's true for me. Is that okay to admit?
We are blessed beyond measure and wealthy beyond tangibility when it comes to villages committed to helping us raise our children.
Having a child is tough. Having a kid with special needs can, at times, be tougher. We have a lot going on here! I'm truly not complaining, I thrive on a full schedule. We have work for me, school for Greg, school for Ryan, school for Lauren (at least they come to us!), physical therapy for both kids (Ryan gets his eval at U of M for his toe walking/tight heels next week), I'm trying to get more involved in the "extracurriculars" at work. Really, we probably don't have much more going on than your average American family. But sometimes it just feels so overwhelming!
And somewhere in there we still need time to just be. Be a family, be a couple, be individuals, be a friend.
Not many people have parents, and I mean both mine and Greg's, that offer to watch their children for a week so they can go on a solo vacation. Or offer to keep the kids once a week every night to give mom and dad a break. Or take just one kid so that mom and dad can get solo time with each child. Our parents have taken the kids to doctor's appointments, often so that I can sleep and Greg take take the other kid to an appointment or school. I have cried to both my mom, mother in law and sister at times about how I feel like I'm failing or how I'm sometimes sad to watch Lauren struggle. We have a church family that prays for us and accepts our family for who we are. We have wonderful teachers and therapists that really want our kids to achieve their full potential.
And like I said, I love that our lives are this busy. To me, a busy home equals a full life. It's how I was raised. I have two sisters and the three of us were lucky enough to have an awesome life growing up. If my kids grow up and like me half as much as I like my parents, I'm pretty excited. We all had school sports, choir, theater classes and plays, travel sports, plans with friends, etc. You name it, we had it going on. Life was busy! Sometimes too busy but I loved it anyways. I want the same for my kids. I know I've said it before, but somehow my mom and dad got it exactly right. We always knew we were loved but we never for a moment thought the world owed us something.
I know without a doubt that Greg and I would not be able to make this hectic, crazy and full-of-love life work for our family without the help from our parents and siblings. It takes a village. It's a constant juggling act and sometimes I feel like I'll never get it quite right.
But our kids know 100%, without a single doubt that they are loved beyond measure. Ryan's face light's up when he sees my sisters. And my nephew. And my parents. And Greg's parents. And Greg's brother and his wife. A kid truly can't have too many people care about them.
There's nothing wrong with accepting help. Who knows, maybe sometimes we accept too much and take more from our village than we give back to it. I just wouldn't have it any other way.
So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our parents, siblings, church and community for helping us, caring about us and investing in the lives of our children. Thank you to our parents for teaching us how to strive to be great parents. We love you!