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Why fit in?
September 13, 2018

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"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" has always been my favorite Dr. Suess quoteand since my daughter came into the world sixteen years ago, it is even more meaningful to me.

I truly believe at the beginning of this special parenting journey, we all have had days that we wish we question our qualifications for this jobwe don't feel chosen.

We were all confused, scared, sometimes angry at this new role we found ourselves trying to fit into. And in the midst of navigating through survival mode, we have all secretly thought about what our lives would have been if we were typical parents. But as we continue to travel on this road with all its twists and turns, we start to see the world through the lens of our differently-abled child.

It amazes me when I speak to other special parents how we all have this in common-it's challenging to put into words how this evolves-it can be more felt than spoken. It feels like a shift in the person who you are-and how you begin to transform into the person who you were meant to be. It may best be described as how your child has changed you from the inside out.

In the process of this change, we automatically reflect the positive view of things onto our kids. Which automatically comes with onging, continual encouragement and hope. With each new challenge to face, hope becomes the center of them all. After a while, this becomes automatic, and what you once may have viewed as a limitation or burden, becomes a way to reflect this hope onto othersand our kids are shining examples of this.

In this age we are living in with so many people expressing who they are in all kinds of ways, we have to recognize and highlight that our kids were meant to be here to shine their light on the world.

I know first-hand that people have commented to me how my daughter, from a very young age, has had the ability to change the atmosphere of a room just from her presence. It is truly a gift that all of our kids have innately.

My prayer for you this month is that no matter what stretch of this journey you are on, you will realize how much you have evolved as a parent and as a personand that you will also know that your child's challenges and differences are a gift from God.

He created all of our children to stand out. Not to be a center of attention for others to mock, but to teach others how all of us collectively create this beautiful human race-differences and all.

So the next time you have to be in a situation that may be particularly difficult for your son or daughter-or for you as a parent-I challenge you to put on your glasses of special parenthood. These glasses have taught you to see the world differently, but they can also help you notice how no matter how dark the place is where you are-you will be able to see the light.

This light can only be seen directly through our special kids, so it is our job to show the world its beauty each and every time we have the chance. It's a gift that we have been given, and by receiving it and embracing the beautiful, strong, determined spirits all of our children have, we can proudly show it off.

After all, they were born to stand out.

Maria Smaldino Spencer is a special mom, special needs consultant and the regional coordinator for the Early Childhood Resource Center. Contact her at helpandhopeconsulting@gmail.com

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