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Don’t take anything for granted

October 1, 2016
Maria Smaldo Spencer , MOV Parent

Over the summer my friends and I spent the day at Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio. While eating at an outdoor restaurant, we were surrounded by families with small children, and adults of all ages. As we sat, a woman with a stroller caught my eye. I noticed that the child in the stroller was visibly too old to typically be riding in a stroller, and I realized she had some special needs. I watched in awe as this mom struggled to twist and turn the stroller through narrow passages of people to eventually get to her car. I watched as she lifted her daughter up and into the back seat of a minivan. I thought she was going to buckle her in and proceed to the drivers' seat. Then I realized she was changing her daughter in the back seat. She continued to care for her, and eventually lifted her back down into the stroller. The mom worked her way back to her table and found her family. I had tears in my eyes as I watched this amazing mom complete her routine tasks in the midst of many typical families. Most of the parents around us probably had to do very little to prepare to take their kids out to eat. They all were going about their dinner, as families do.

But this very special mom that I noticed was also going about her motherly routines-in the midst of this ordinary day, something extraordinary was going on. You see, when you become a special parent, you get accustomed to seeing things that others don't. This journey allows us to acquire a keen acuity that is perfected over time. With each new hurdle that our child has to face, things become a little clearer. The little things in our lives that used to stress us out, become very trivial over time.

Because many of our days are filled with the unknown, we don't take anything for granted. We appreciate the little things, and celebrate successes most parents don't even notice.

We have the privilege of witnessing miracles every day.

Albert Einstein said, "There are two ways to life your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Before my daughter came into my world, I heard this quote and thought I understood I believe that Einstein must have had people with different abilities in mind when he suggested that everything can be seen as a miracle.

Parents that are on this journey have observed their child doing things that were against all oddsthey've seen things like watching their child walk unassisted, or saying a word that others understand, or their child getting through the day without having a seizure, or having a melt-down free afternoon..and even being able to go to the lake and get through an entire meal in public.

My prayer for all of us this month is that we will not forget how truly special our title of special parent is, and even in the midst of the hardest day, be able to recognize and celebrate the miracles all around us.

I believe that God chose all special parents. We were hand-picked. The privilege we have in carrying the title of special parent is one that should not be taken lightly. We have a gift of recognizing things that are not of this earth. Because of our children, we have been charged with the responsibility of fostering these miracles. Our ability to see the extraordinary in ordinary, everyday occurrences is the very thing that enables us to keep on caring for our children. Hope is renewed in our hearts with each new miracle we witness, and this hope gives us the strength to persevere through any challenge, setback or storm on our journey.knowing with confidence the next miracle is on the way.

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



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