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Truly special

May 12, 2015
Maria Spencer , MOV Parent

Did you ever stop and think about the person you were before your special child was born? How you have changedhow time and circumstances have changed you from the inside out?

The moment we became special parents, something new was birthed on the inside of each and every one of us. We didn't know it at the time, it wasn't noticeable to anyone on the outside, but it happened. When you look back on the early days of accepting your child was differently abled, you probably don't think of how strong or brave you were. We all were in a state of survival mode, getting from one appointment to the other, etc. All the while, things were going on inside. Skills and gifts were being birthed on the inside of us. We were becoming the person we were meant to be.

We are stronger than we ever thought was possible. The strength that it takes to endure bad days with our children is extra-ordinary. From endless sleepless nights, to meltdowns, to becoming our child's therapistit all takes strength. Our kind of strength is unique to special parenting. It is a matter of getting into parent mode and staying there-always. There are no days off. There are no moments off. The endurance it takes to keep up this pace is what makes us strong.

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Be proud of yourself. You are strong.

We are advocates. This gift grows as your child grows older. It grows because of multiple encounters with countless professionals. We have good and bad experiences that have formed this trait inside us. Even if prior to your child coming into the world you were a quiet, reserved person-as your child grows, being an advocate comes naturally. It was always part of the plan for your life. We know as the years go on, that we are our child's best advocate. The job was designed for us.

Be proud of yourself. You are an advocate.

We are heroes. Heroes come in all different shapes and sizes-with all kinds of superpowers and logos. But when you are a special parent, the heroic nature also comes with time. We don't consider ourselves to be heroes, it is usually seen by others. Thanks to our strength, endurance and our advocacy skills, we, by default, become hero-like. Other parents may comment on all the things we have to do each day that are unlike anything they have ever experienced. People may look at us in awe of the resiliency that it took to get into survival mode and live through the early days of special parenthood. All the while, we are just doing what we need to do to help our children be the best they can be. We do it out of love-because somewhere deep inside we know that we know that God chose us to be our child's parent. No one else. Us.

Be proud of yourself. You are a hero.

You were chosen for this amazing task. You were meant to grow into the special parent you are. Your child has changed your being from the inside out. Isn't that awesome?

My prayer for you this month is that you will realize all of the wonderful qualities that have been birthed in you because of your child. You may not even realize it, because it all comes naturally to you. That's the ironic thing. All the things that were foreign to you before your child was born are now second nature.

That's the way it was meant to be. It's who you were meant to be.

Be proud of yourself. You truly are special.

Maria Smaldino Spencer is a special mom, special needs consultant and a center supervisor administrator at CDI Head Start of Mahoning County in Youngstown. She can be reached at



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