Giving Ourselves Grace as Parents 

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Without a doubt the one thing that I have learned about parenting is that it is often nothing like I expected it to be. It’s hard and messy and some days the bad pushes the good right out the front door. It’s unexpected and illogical and it rarely plays by a set of rules. Lately I find myself feeling like I am drowning in failure. I feel like I am treading water and at some point during the day my head slips under for a moment and as I gasp for air I take in a mouth full of water before pushing myself back to the surface. It’s a scary feeling but a reality check of how tough it can be.

As a person who likes to achieve and strives to be good at most everything, I struggle with feeling not good enough as a parent. In most other areas of my life I find I can dig deep and try harder and typically I am able to become good at most things I set my mind to. And if I don’t well then I pass it off as “not my thing.”  The problem with raising a child with diverse needs is that neither of those tactics works. The harder I try lately the more I seem to fail….and fall…..and hard. It hurts. I can’t really brush off parenting as not my thing because it’s not exactly a hobby. And I sure as heck can’t quit! I’m in this time for life so maybe practice makes perfect……

So practice I did. I read books, took classes, saw specialists, changed my approach. I tried harder. I tried be a good mom. In fact I tried so hard I’m not even sure I know how to define a good mom because I started measuring my worth as a mom based on my child’s successes. And in that lies the problem. A good parent can still have a child who is struggling.

A good parent can still have a child who is struggling.

My child’s struggles are not a measure of my parenting abilities. I have always done my best as a parent. And that may change from day to day. When I am tired or stressed I might react differently but at those times that is still my best. Unless I missed the delivery man I am fairly certain that parenting didn’t come with a superhero cape. We are not superhuman. We make mistakes. We take shortcuts. We need to learn to give ourselves grace during those times. We need to learn to be gentler with ourselves and forgive ourselves a little more.

If we cannot forgive ourselves we become victims of shame. Shame is what happens when we feel like we are failing at parenting. It becomes the dark cloak you put on when you walk down the hall hoping that it will shield you from the burning eyes of the other parents. It’s the heavy blanket we pull over ourselves at the end of the day as we think if even just for a moment that crawling into bed and forgetting the world might be an option. It’s the tears that fall when we look ourselves in the mirror and don’t like the person staring back. Shame eats away at our ability to parent with grace because it causes us to doubt ourselves.

In these moment we need to believe that we are enough. Even when things feel really bad and we seem to be drowning with challenges and hurdles and we are faced with more questions than answers, we are good enough. Grace allows us to fall and fail but grace also forces us to pick ourselves back up and push forward and try again. So please grant yourself the grace to be the best imperfect parent that you can be. 

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The Lonliness of Parenting a Diverse Child 


When asked what I felt would best describe my experience of raising a child with a diverse ability I chose the word alone. Now when you think of the word alone you might picture someone socially isolated. You might picture a parent with no friends or family, no resources or support systems. This however is not the loneliness I experience.

Where exactly does this loneliness come from then? For me it originates from a place of fear. I am scared. I am scared for the future. I am scared of how my child will find her place in this world. I am scared that she will be misunderstood. I am scared because she is incredibly vulnerable. I am scared because I want to protect her. And I’m scared because sometimes I can’t. 

Those feeling sit with me day in and day out. They keep me up at night as my heart feels a soft throbbing ache. Sometimes I am distracted by them and feel like I’m walking in a fog. Sometimes I try to distract myself because if I don’t take a moment here and there to think about something else, to do something else, those fears might swallow me  whole.

The pressure of being her mom weighs so heavily on me some days it’s hard to even breath. I’m simply alone with my thoughts. It is a scary place to be trapped in a mind that never feels quiet. I’m scared because sometimes I look at other parents with a jealous eye. I can’t help but long for even just a minute to be raising a neurotypical child. I’m scared because some days leave me feeling so worn out and beaten down that I worry I can’t do it anymore. I’m scared of failing.

I am scared because right now things feel out of control. Things feel out of MY control. Even with a team of people working to support us I feel alone because nobody can take my fears away. There seems to be no certain answers or path. Options are presented. Opinions are weighed. They dance around my head all night but it is up to me to make the best decision and implement the best care plan. The pressure of that is incredibly scary. 

The scariest thing is that there likely isn’t much I can do about this loneliness. I need to acknowledge it though. Somedays I just sit quietly with it. Somedays I cry because it simply feels overwhelming and I need a release. I know I am not alone as I have family, friends and a team of professionals, but I am still incredibly scared. 

To All the Parents Who Failed Today 


I want my children to see that I tried my best. 

I want my children to see that I never gave up. 

I want my children to watch me stumble and fumble my way through being a parent. 

I want my children to see me make mistakes.

I’ve had so many moments as a parent that I’m not proud of. Moments I totally sucked. Parenting is tough work and it doesn’t come with a manual and even if it did the manual would change so quickly we wouldn’t be able to keep up. It is a job that holds such incredible weight that we feel like we can’t mess it up. We must always be on our “A” game to be good parents. But I’m here to tell you that’s a bunch of 

We are not perfect parents, nor should be strive to be. We should get it wrong even when we know what’s right. We will have days when we’re stressed or overtired. Days when we have a short temper and yell rather than remain calm. Days when we choose the easy path rather than the more difficult time consuming one.  Days when we throw our hands in the air and declare we simply are not cut out for this parenting thing.

Often when we become parents we forget that we are still humans. Being a mom does not give me superpowers (although don’t tell my children that, they still believe that I have eyes in the back of my head.) But humans are imperfect in nature. As parents we need to give ourselves the grace to be imperfect. We often hold ourselves to standards that simply are unattainable. We’ll get it wrong. Sometimes over and over again. And then when we finally figure it out something changes and we’re right back at square one trying to figure out what to do. We will get it wrong even when we know what’s right. 

Parenting is a mixture of being both proactive and reactive. It is a learning process. Sometimes it is trial and error. And sometimes nothing that we try seems to work. We are left feeling helpless and hopeless but we shouldn’t. The thought of letting our children know that we don’t have it all figured out makes us feel uncertain. We believe that our job as parents should be to make our children feel secure knowing that we’ve got this. We know what we’re doing as parents. But what if we allowed them to witness us weak and vulnerable as we proclaim we got it wrong? I think the illusion of holding it together causes far more anxiety. Children are smart. If you think you’re fooling them think again. I would rather my children see me fail but see me try again. 

I want my children to see that I’m not perfect but I am strong. I am resilient. One of the best lessons that I can teach my children is that getting it wrong only provides another opportunity to get it right. That’s where the learning occurs. That’s where you grow. 

So I invite all parents to mess up. Get it wrong. Be the imperfect parents that we all are.

Dear parents of typical children


Dear Parents of Typical Children,

You are the masses. Your children make up the majority of students in our school population, yet your voices tend to go unheard. You leave the fight to the parents of children who need support. But I’m here to beg you to join us because don’t be fooled the education system is currently failing ALL students. A classroom overburdened with students requiring extra support is a classroom where NONE of the students are getting the education they deserve. 

Let me paint you a picture. Out of a class of 24 you might have one child with Down syndrome, two with autism spectrum disorder, one who is diabetic, 4 with learning disorders, one with anxiety, perhaps several undiagnosed awaiting an assessment and several children going through divorce. Oh and you have one child who is a flight risk and also a safety issue as they frequently bite, hit and attack other children. But your child isn’t any of those. Your child sits quietly at his/her desk patiently waiting for the teacher to come help with the writing assignment. You have nothing to advocate for. Your child doesn’t require additional support at school. But don’t be fooled. This is not the education that your child is entitled to. Your child should not have to simply survive in a classroom where there is limited resources and funding available to support the children. Is this the education that you want for your child? 

We’re on the same team. We need to join together to fight for the education that our children deserve. The benefits of inclusive education are for everyone but only when we aren’t overburdening teachers with too many students who require extra support and extra resources that are not available. We are turning good teachers into tired teachers. We are taking good teachers and making them question their abilities. One teacher is only capable of so much and a teacher’s number one concern will always be the safety and welfare of their students. So teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic often gets neglected because they are busy putting out fires all day. Your quiet typical child sitting at their desk often gets neglected. 

I invite you to fight the fight with us. Just because your child doesn’t require extra support doesn’t mean that their teacher doesn’t. I don’t want to see teachers just barely keeping their heads above water. I don’t want teachers going home feeling defeated and like they aren’t good at their job because they can’t support their students. ALL students deserve an education. ALL students deserve an equal share of their teachers time and energy. We need to focus on creating an education system that can do that. 

Fight the fight with us. Maybe together out voice will be heard. 

When Love is not Enough 


When you hold your baby in your arms for the first time a feeling of euphoria washes over you. This amazing feeling of love in its purest form pours out of your heart and into this little precious little human that you created. You feel like the two of you can take on the world with the power of that love. You instantly plan and map out your path through life as it is guided and shaped by this love. Love is all you need. 

Except sometimes it isn’t. 

Sometimes love is not enough. 

Love is not enough to make people understand my child. They can’t see her through my eyes. She is complex and complicated. She is not an easy soul to understand. 

Love is not enough to protect her from cruel people. If love could wrap it’s gentle arms around her and shield her from pain it surely would. It would protect her like armour. If you let love take your hand though it will guide you towards kind people. There will always be cruel people in this world. Find the kind people and take their energy. The cruel people will scatter like flies. 

Love is not enough to keep her safe. Nothing in this world can compare to the pain of watching your child hurt. You see during that nine months that they grow within you a piece of your heart grows with them. And now as she walks through this world my heart goes with her. It feels pain with her. When love is not enough to take that pain away I cry too. 

Love is not enough to make me a perfect mother. I have never tried as hard at anything in my life as I have to be a good mother. Even when I fail I get up and try again the next day. I hate that sometimes I fail. I hate that some days my patience wears thin even though my love runs thick. I hate that no matter how hard I try some days I can’t make the world an easy place to navigate.

So even when love isn’t enough it might be all I have. It is what I cling to when I have nothing left to cling to. 

Love is enough to make me fight. 

Love is enough to make me get out of bed tomorrow. 

Love is enough to comfort my tired body and restless mind. 

Love is enough to give me hope. 

When Inclusive Education isn’t Enough 


Take a moment and think back to your elementary school classes. For most of us we don’t have many memories of peers with special needs. The reason for this is because it has only been a generation or two since special needs students were included in mainstream classrooms. This is a relatively new model of education. The model that strives to integrate special needs students so that with adaptations and modifications they can complete coursework alongside their peers. In simplest terms this means one class where all diverse needs receive the support that they require to be successful. It sounds brilliant. It sounds like the perfect form of education. All students benefit from the inclusive model of education. 

Now let’s take a moment to discuss the reality because this brilliant and perfect form of education is not what is actually taking place and very few students are benefiting. 

Inclusive education is not enough when there are 10 special needs children in a class of 25. These 10 children may vary in required support. Some may have a learning disability. Some may have a diagnosis such as autism or down syndrome. Some may have a chronic health need such as diabetes. Some might be a flight risk or a danger to themselves or others. Not to mention the 15 other “typical” children in the classroom. The supports in place are not enough for incisive education to be successful. The dollars are stretched thin. Education assistants are trying to support too many children while the teacher is trying to teach but Mary just ripped up Johnny’s math sheet and Alex is hiding in the closet and Sarah won’t stop sharpening her pencil over and over and over again which makes Angela scream at the top of her lungs and bolt out of the classroom. Meanwhile Jason sits quietly in his wheelchair in the corner waiting for someone to attend to him….but they are all too busy. So what happens to the actual math lesson and the students sitting at their desks ready to learn ??? It never gets fully taught and the students don’t really learn because the teacher is too busy putting out fires.

Inclusive education is not enough when there isn’t enough money to support it. These children require support. These children are entitled to support. They have a right to an education and a right to be given the tools and resources to receive that education. The problem is that the budgets are stretched thin. Inclusive education works when there are 2-3 special needs students in a class. Not 10! 10 students supported by 1-2 educational assistants plus a classroom teacher. This is becoming the norm rather than the exception and then we wonder why these children are struggling. Inclusive education has to be properly funded and supported for it to be successful. 

Inclusive education isn’t enough until ALL parents buy in. Parents of all children need to believe in the importance of inclusive education. It will benefit all children if it is carried out as intended. Children learn compassion and empathy within a class of diverse abilities. They understand that fair doesn’t meant equal. Fair means that each individual receives the tools and supports necessary to learn. They understand that we all learn at different rates and in different ways. They learn that we all bring with us different strengths and different weaknesses. In fact a child with special needs might actually bring out a strength in another child. And instead of putting out fires the classroom teacher is able to engage the students in learning and support all the children in the class to maximize their learning experience.

Inclusive education isn’t enough until we provide further education and training to teachers and educational assistants. Often these professionals are given the difficult task of supporting a classroom full of diverse abilities without a proper toolbox to pull from. They are underprepared to deal with the plethora of challenges and behaviors. They are left on their own to seek out resources and materials to enable them to simply do their job. This is not an easy task as what may have worked for one student last year may send a student this year screaming down the hall. They have to be always learning and relearning, changing and molding to the needs of their students. Resources are stretched thin and budgets are tight. The system is broken. 

Inclusive education isn’t enough until we examine our philosophy of treatment for individuals with diverse abilities. Within the medical model of treatment lies the core belief that it is the individual who requires treatment. We treat the individual. They may be prescribed medication, receive therapy or counseling, are given goals to achieve at school. But all of this treatment fails to consider the environment surrounding the individual. If we take a community centered approach we begin to see the individual at the center of the circle. We then look around them and see their family. And then even around their family we see their community. As a school is part of their community so should it be considered in their treatment. The education that every child receives should take into consideration that child’s specific strengths and weaknesses. It should also consider the family and how it impacts the child’s ability to be successful. If we expect that we can simply treat the child on their own and they will suddenly be capable of integrating into the classroom we are missing the mark. Inclusive education is not enough until we embrace a community model of treatment.

I desperately hope that one day inclusive education is enough. I hope that when my children are adults that they look back on their school days with fondness and smiles as they remember a classroom of learners. I don’t even want the special needs children to stick out in their minds. I’d really rather they blend in. That is the true definition of inclusive education. 

Autism Lives in This House 


Autism affects my child.

Autism affect me.

Autism affects my family.

Autism does not sit in isolation within my house. It seeps through the walls and lurks around the corners. It lies in wait most of the time. Most of the time it goes unnoticed to the the untrained eye. On a day to day basis my daughter manages fairly well. If you didn’t know autism lived in my house you might miss it all together. My house may look fairly similar to every house on the street. But the truth of the matter is that we are different. My daughter is different. I am different. My other neuro-typical children are even different. Autism is a part of our family.

Parenting is by far the most challenging and demanding job that there is. There isn’t a manual or a set of rules to follow that will ensure you take that precious baby and raise and evolve them into a successful adult. Disciple, structure, rules, what food you feed them, their school, their extracurricular activities, it seems like every decision you make will be shaping them and guiding them through life. As the parent, you’re in the driver’s seat. It is no easy task, but when you have a child with autism that job becomes so much more demanding….so much more intense. Decisions become bigger and more important and carry so much more weight. How to bring your child through life can be overwhelming. You find yourself reading parenting books, taking courses, reflecting on every decision you make, making decisions you never thought you would have to and looking at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and wondering. Why is this my reality? What should I be doing differently? Who can I ask for help? When will things get better? How can I make a difference in my child’s life?

Autism is my child’s reality, but it is also my reality and the reality of my family. We hold within these walls a set of diverse abilities that are unique and they shape us all. As a parent one of our primary jobs is to keep our children safe. Within these walls there are behaviors and language that I would never choose for my children to be exposed to. But they are. Not very often, but they are. How do you explain to your children the dynamic of having a sibling with autism in their home? Sometimes it feels like their sibling gets away with things, like autism is somehow their excuse. They often have a different set of rules and expectations. How do you explain to your children that the behavior that their sibling is exhibiting is unacceptable for them? I like to describe the idea of fair and equal to my children. Being fair is giving every individual what they need to succeed and because everyone is different that can’t always be equal. We do not have the same expectations for every child because every child has a unique set of needs. We meet every child where they are at and in turn create rules and routines based on their needs. We are fluid and reflective on these rules and guide them with an overall philosophy based on kindness and understanding and compassion. I have explained to my children that autism means that their sibling’s brain works a little differently than theirs. Sometimes everything around her is too much and she can’t filter things out and the part of her brain that helps her make logical decisions just can’t work in those moments. When I think of how I want my other children to come through life this is what I want for them. I want kindness and understanding and compassion. I want them to look deeper than the behavior that they see on the surface and understand that it is often more complex than what they can actually see. I want them to learn that we are all different.

The additional stress that raising a child with autism poses on a parent is immense. It feels like a weight that you carry around with you most days. Some days it is like a small rock in your pocket. The additional weight isn’t much but it reminds you that it is there as you reach your hand in and run your fingers back and forth over the smooth and rough edges. Other days it feels like you have a heavy sac thrown over your shoulder. It feels like you might crumble beneath the weight. This weight becomes more than a physical burden. It is a burden to your mind as you are constantly in a deep thought process. It can be anything from making sure that the schedule and routines of the day are in place. You worry about tomorrow and what triggers might set your child off. You worry about next week when you know their teacher is going to be away and wonder how they will cope with that change. You worry about everything that you do and everything that you don’t do. You worry if it’s enough. You worry about what their life will look like after 18 years. Will everything that you are doing today and tomorrow prepare them for the future?

Autism has made me a stronger person. It has made me a better parent. There are days I wish my house was like the neighbor’s down the street. But those days are few and I accept them when they occur. It’s normal to compare and normal to want what we don’t have. But I am thankful for what my daughter has taught me and what she has taught my other children. As much as I am molding her, she is molding my family. My children see unconditional love on a daily basis. They see forgiveness. They see that we accept different people. They see that we come from a place of compassion even when we don’t understand. They see that we get up in the morning and try again even after a terrible day. They see that we are a family and we stick together and support each other even when it’s hard. Autism lives in this house, it is a part of our family.

Kindness Awareness Day:Why my Daughter didn’t want to go to the Walk for Autism

  
Today is autism awareness day. A day for people to talk about autism. A day to gain knowledge and awareness. Many communities are holding activities today. In our community there was a walk and awareness event planned. I was looking forward to it, but my daughter didn’t want to participate. She doesn’t embrace having autism. She won’t shout it from the rooftops.
To my daughter autism means different and different is hard these days. Don’t think she doesn’t realize that she is different. Don’t think she doesn’t realize that she doesn’t fit in. She knew that years before she was diagnosed. 

My daughter lacks social referencing. She sometimes has difficulty knowing how in interact with others. She can’t gauge her behaviors as appropriate and often has difficulty making and maintain friendships. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to fit in. She desperately wants just to be another face in the crowd. 

Today going to an event for autism made her feel like she would stick out like a sore thumb. She was worried that she might see a friend there and they would know that she has autism. She was worried she would be teased. She was worried about being accepted. She has troubles being accepted as it is so one more challenge, one more reason for her peers to reject her, is simply too much. After much reassurance and prepping I was able to convince her to go. I was able to convince her that she would blend in. 

Autism is different. But different doesn’t mean “less than.” It doesn’t mean “abnormal.” I struggle with how to change perceptions and raise awareness and then I realized I shouldn’t have to. Having autism is only one thing that can make someone different. We can’t expect parents to teach their children about every unique individual that their child might cross paths with. What we can expect parents to do is teach kindness. We can expect parents to teach empathy and understanding. We can expect parents to teach their children to celebrate our differences. 

So today as much as you should raise awareness for autism I want you to raise awareness for kindness. I want you to raise awareness for inclusion. I want you to celebrate that we are all different and each one of has diverse abilities. 

Bent to the Point of Breaking:Why Autism and Anxiety Often Coexist 

  
The society in which we live is a confusing place. We have rules and expectations. There are social norms that are inferred but not explained. There has become a standardized mold of “normal” which we expect everyone to fit into. Don’t think this goes unnoticed by individuals with autism. Don’t think that the fact that they don’t fit, can fit, into the box means that they don’t want to. Individuals with autism still have the desire to belong and to be accepted. So they try. They try and try and try to bend themselves to fit in the box. The act of doing so is no easy task. It pushes them to the point of breaking. And with it brings a great deal of anxiety. 

Individuals with autism typically show a delay in social development. Their play is odd and can be highly inflexible. Including other children in their play is difficult. Play can become ritualistic and scripted and really not much fun for another child to join in. Often a child with autism comes across very bossy and demanding. They simply cannot accommodate another child into their play. They cannot take turns or vary from their own agenda. Making friends is no easy task. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want friends. Trying to fit in amongst ones peers causes anxiety. It causes enoumous strain to try to play with others when their developmental level might be so much lower than their peers. So they bend a little.

Lights are bright. Noises are loud. Smells are heightened. Touch can be sensitive. Navigating through many places can mean a sensory overload. The grocery store becomes a place of terror. Screaming becomes the only option. So they scream. Without explanation. But don’t think that they are so busy screaming that they don’t realize others aren’t. They are the only person having a meltdown in isle 7 and they realize that they don’t fit in. As they get older they try to contain this. They try to develop coping skills so that they don’t throw themselves on the floor in front of the ice cream. But this isn’t an easy task because the sensory overload is still going on. They are trying so hard to keep it all together so they bend a little more. 

Change is not autisms friend. We expect kids to adapt. We expect them to go with the flow. But the brain of an autistic child isn’t wired for change. They like predictably. They like rules and routines. They thrive off of knowing what comes next and they require a warning to transition to that next activity. Not knowing or changing the anticipated activity causes huge anxiety but they try to contain it. They try to work with our agenda for them. They bend a little more. 

So much takes place that is beyond words. We communicate with our eyes and our facial expressions. We use gestures and body posturing. How often do parents show their disapproval by the shake of a finger, hand on their hip and their very best “don’t make me come over their face.” Most kids would understand that mom or dad isn’t happy without even the exchange of a word. Humans develop to understand this form of communication. However individuals with autism typically lack this development. So the world becomes a difficult place to understand. They have a difficult time adapting their behavior to the expectations when they don’t even understand the expectations. They try to fake it. They try to bend. 

Most people have the ability to recognize that their thoughts differ from others. They have the ability to try to see things from another’s perspective. Imagine how confusing it would be if you expected that your thoughts were going on in everyone else’s mind. Imagine how confusing it would become when people didn’t understand what you meant. You don’t expect people to read your mind, you simply think their mind is thinking what yours is. This is the reality of an individual with autism. This has anxiety written all over it. But still they try to understand. They try to bend. 

Until they break. Until all the social norms and expectations become too much to handle. The anxiety builds and builds until it can no longer be contained. 

What’s the solution? It’s not a simple answer. First we need to see these individuals for who they are. We have to honor and accept their developmental level and then we lower the bar to meet them where they are at. We teach them skills to help them develop alongside their peers. They may never be at the same level but we can help and we can learn to accept them for who they are. These children are not bad or naughty. Trust me they don’t want to lie kicking and screaming in the ice cream isle. They don’t want to be standing on the playground by themselves. They don’t want to be screaming down the hall at school. We have to accept that they might never fit into the box of “normal.” We have to let them create their old mold, to create their own niche within our society. We have to stop trying to bend them. 

Living on the Edge 

   
There is a fine line between I’ve got my life together and living on the brink of disaster. I’ll admit it’s where I am most days. I curl my back up against it. I rest my heavy head on it. It is my place of comfort. Sometimes it is the only thing I know admiss a world of uncertainties. 

Living with autism changes you. It makes you more alert. Your spidey sense is always on high. You tune into people and situations and language and the environment more than you used to. You are constantly on the lookout for triggers. You are constantly waiting for the next meltdown. So you never get too comfortable. You never relax too much. You stand guard on the line. 

Here’s what I have learned about myself through this. I like to feel positive. I like to get up ready to conquer the world. I like to start each day fresh and pull myself together. Sometimes just looking the part makes me believe that I’m not dangerously close to falling over the line. One meltdown could push me over. It doesn’t take much to slip into a disaster. 

The downside to living on the edge is that negative thoughts are right there ready to sneak into your head and speak untruths. Usually I’m aware and shush them but after a long day they are loud, they are angry and so when my head hits the pillow negative thoughts start creeping into my mind. The tears start flowing. “This is my life. This is a terrible disaster. I’m failing miserably.” These are the thoughts that carry me off to sleep some nights. This is the reality. Nobody sees this though because the next morning I pick myself up and put myself together and drag myself back over the line. 

I attempt to prepare myself better for the next storm. I repair the damage and carry on. In the light of day things start looking up. The thoughts that seemed so valid the night before now look foolish. I convince myself day after day that I can do this. I convince myself that I can live this life I was given.

Here’s one thing living on the brink of disaster has taught me: life will pass you by if you are waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I accept that life will not be easy. Don’t get me wrong we have plenty of good days, but some are hard. Some days will end in tears. Some days I will slip over the line, but I will come back. I will pick myself up and put myself back together. I will do it because I can be strong. I will do it because I can be weak. I will do it because I am a mother. I will do it because I have no other choice. This is the life I was given. 

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