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Parenting the Sibling With(out) Special Needs

​I will begin this blog post with a confession.  I was a perfect parent before I had children!  I had opinions and would not hesitate sharing them with my friends who had children before my husband and I had our children.  Fourteen years into our marriage found us still sharing a huge but empty house.  We had endured years of infertility, failed pregnancies and dashed dreams.  But I was storing up all sorts of ideas and plans for when we would finally be blessed with children of our own.

One September day when the temperatures were beginning to cool down and the colors of fall were on the horizon our world was irrevocably changed by the premature birth of our daughter.  Born much too soon and with more complications than I could process for several weeks, she swelled our hearts with pride, our lives with joy, and our home with enough medical equipment to fill an entire living room which she quickly took over and claimed as her nursery.

A devastating realization was that all the knowledge I had stored about being a perfect parent meant nothing now that this little girl, who defied medical odds, would never be normal.  Nor would she enjoy the benefits of all of those things I had envisioned sharing with a daughter.

No tea parties, no ballet practices, no patent leather shoes dancing on my hardwood floors, no late night talks as a teen, no dating advice, no picking out a wedding dress.  The dreams changed very abruptly and became a quest for just preserving life and cultivating as much quality to that life as we possibly could.  She became the focus of everything we participated in, everywhere we went, everyone with whom we associated.  Life was all about her.

Four years later our world was expanded again by the birth of our son.  Only he was normal.  What were we supposed to do now?  We knew complicated, special needs parenting.  We don’t know about this world of normal.  It was truly an adjustment.  All I had to do was feed him, change him and snuggle him?  That’s it?
For the rest of this article, please visit the MomHeart.org blog (using the link below) where I am the featured writer today…
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About Renee Parris

I write to share the message of grace God has so generously splattered on the pages of my life. My heart beats strongly with love for my husband, children, and those God has placed in my path. I adore the world God has created for us to explore. My heart beats to share, through written words and pictures, my love for nature and the people I meet on this beautiful journey called life.

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