‘Somewhere there’s a mom tired of picking up toys. Somewhere else, there’s a mom choosing her child’s first wheelchair.’: Special needs mom says ‘I’ll always be grateful for where we are’

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“Somewhere there’s a mom saying she is tired of picking up her child’s toys. Again.

Somewhere else there’s a mom wishing her child was still on this earth to make incredible messes.

Somewhere there’s a mom saying her child’s nonstop questions are giving her a headache.

Somewhere else there’s a mother aching to hear her child’s voice. Even just one word.

Somewhere there’s a mother who can’t get a thing done with her toddler constantly at her feet.

Courtesy of Melissa Schlemmer

Somewhere else there’s a mother unable to get anything accomplished because grief is holding her down.

Somewhere there’s a tired mother whose child woke up a little too early.

Somewhere else there’s an exhausted mother who hasn’t slept all night in years.

Somewhere there’s a mom deciding between what outfits to wear for family pictures.

Somewhere else there’s a mom making decisions regarding her child’s end of life care.

Somewhere there’s a mom tucking her child into bed at night.

Somewhere else a mom is holding onto her child so tightly as they wait for her to take her last breath.

Somewhere there’s a mom wishing for just 10 minutes alone.

Somewhere else there’s a mom begging to never ask for anything again if God would just take away her child’s pain.

Courtesy of Melissa Schlemmer

Somewhere there’s a mom scheduling well-child checkups.

Somewhere else there’s a mom making specialist, therapist, county, and school meeting appointments.

Somewhere there’s a mom telling her children to get their shoes and coats on so they can run out the door.

Somewhere else there’s a mother toileting, changing, and carrying her non-ambulatory teenager out the door.

Somewhere there’s a mom quickly grabbing a new pair of shoes for her child at Target.

Somewhere else there’s a mom meeting with vendors to choose her child’s first wheelchair.

Somewhere there’s a mom in tears because parenting is hard.

Somewhere else there’s a mom in tears because parenting a child with special needs and medical complexities is hard.

Courtesy of Melissa Schlemmer

Be grateful.

Be thankful.

Be kind.

You never know when you could end up somewhere else.

Being a mom of a medically fragile child with significant needs has given me a unique perspective. I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but over the last 7 years, I have learned quite a few life lessons. I can honestly say before our middle son was diagnosed with Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation, I rarely took a minute to appreciate where I was. I mean, really appreciate the moment we were living in and feel tremendous gratitude.

With our first child, he did all the things he was supposed to do. Walked on time. Talked on time. Everything was as it was ‘supposed to be.’ Then Christopher came along and my perspective drastically changed. He’s 7 now and is severely developmentally delayed. Nothing is as it should be. He has never done anything on time and never will. His life has changed mine. He changed my perspective on what was truly important.

Courtesy of Melissa Schlemmer

Being immersed in the world of families with medically complex children can be emotionally tough. Over the years, I have mourned the lives of too many children. I have witnessed heartbreaking losses in which there aren’t enough words to express my condolences. But there is a different side to this world. A world with joy and gratitude like you’ve never seen.

If you’ve ever been witness to a child walking after years of therapy, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever cried because your son sat up without assistance, you can relate. Our son has been in therapy for over 6 years and the ‘can’t do’s’ are far greater than the ‘can do’s.’ But that’s what makes our gratitude for where we are this much greater. That’s what makes my appreciation for the little things so much more.

After Christopher came along, I didn’t take a single thing for granted. It really is the little things that matter. It is never lost on me we could be somewhere else, and I will always be grateful for where we are.”

Courtesy of Melissa Schlemmer

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melissa Schlemmer from Forest Lake, Minnesota. You can follow their journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube  for our best videos.

Read more from Melissa here:

‘We’re so lucky your dad still has his job.’ I don’t know how we’ll do it another day, another week, another year.’: Mom of special needs son says ‘being his caregiver is a whole life job’

‘The neurologist called. ‘I’m 90% sure your son has Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation. Do not google it.’: Special needs mom urges, ‘Life can be beautiful, even when it doesn’t go as planned’

‘I’m in a different boat. We’re terrified of losing our children. I’d never wish for any parent to be where I’ve been.’: Special needs mom begs ‘do your part, stay safe for us’

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