At the entrance of our home there is a sign that reads,"Happy is what we make it. Always has been, always will be." Ironically the sign sits atop a coat hanger that is used mostly on rainy or cold, dreary days. It serves as a positive daily reminder to focus less on what appears to be "wrong" or missing in our lives and more on the many blessings we take part in everyday as a family.
Derivative of Photo by Aoife Mac CC BY 2.0
I've found that one of the most beautiful parts of being a single parent is realizing what I'm truly capable of and recognizing my own strength. It has been in those moments that I've found myself accomplishing more than I could have ever imagined despite the challenges that lie before us.
I became a single mother at the age of 22 when my son was just turning one. It was not an original life plan but it was definitely a change that would mold the rest of my young life. At the time I was completing studies in Pre-Medical Sciences at Southern Methodist University, graduated with honors and had a 4-5 year plan to become an MD in Anesthesiology. The plan I had created for myself was all I knew until I had my sweet, loving son..then the plan began to change.
At a young age, he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified) which is a neuro-developmental disorder that at the time was classified on the Autism Spectrum. The prognosis was not clear but we knew that his speech would be impaired and he would struggle with building social skills and meaningful relationships with children his age. As you can imagine, as a young mom I experienced a wealth of emotions upon receiving the news but I soon realized that I needed to do all that I could to help him. Part of that meant putting my plans on hold in order to give him a greater shot at success in life. Some would say that I've embarked on a dream-deferred, however I'm absolutely grateful for the opportunities I've had thus far and choose to believe we together are a dream-in-progress. When I see my son now ten years later at 11 years of age, a happy fun-spirited and smart little guy (he truly is a comedian you will soon discover!), I have no regrets. All of the time committed to special needs workshops, doctor's visits, parent/teacher meetings and speech therapy sessions have paid off. In fact, even as I write this post I smile inside at the trajectory life has placed us on.
Because of him, I discovered that sometimes the choices we make in life will find a way of leading us exactly where we were meant to be.
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