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Confident expectation

August 26, 2019
Maria Smaldo Spencer , MOV Parent

If you recently became a special parent, or if you are a seasoned parent - can you put yourself in a position or mind-set to think hopeful thoughts about what the future holds for your child? Or are you in a constant state of survival mode and you can't see much else that is going on around you?

While all of us have had our share of days in survival mode with our kids -finding and looking for any/all things to get him or her to the next step, meet the next goal, etc., survival mode is a good, functional place to be as a special parent. Great things get accomplished there, and new interventions are birthed. In this mode, our focus is so caught up in helping our child, many great things happen, but it usually is exhausting. I know first-hand because I spent many years going in and out of survival mode, when I thought the needs of my daughter warranted it. But as I look back on those days, all I can truly remember is the uncertainty and helplessness I felt much of the time.

When she was about three years old, I started to shift my thinking from being in a state of "doing" constantly, to focusing my thoughts on hope. When I started to change my thoughts of worry to having positive expectation for her future, everything in and around my world started to changefor the better.

Joyce Meyer's definition of Hope is: favorable and confident expectation; it's an expectant attitude that something good is going to happen and things will work out, no matter what situation we're facing.

This definition is what got me through some crazy days of survival mode. Hope became my favorite word. I started looking for it in everything my daughter said and did, and before I knew it, I couldn't see the things she was incapable of doing; I had a new vision that allowed me to see all the wonderful things she is able to do.

It was in these first hope-filled days that I became the person I was meant to be.

You see, as special parents, we have many expectations on our shoulders. Not only do we have to take care of our child who has challenges, we are expected to just keep on keeping on, and continue to carry out all of our other duties as parents, spouses, siblings, children, employees, etc. So because that weight can get too heavy at times, we have to choose to focus on hope.

If you are familiar with Facebook, periodically "Your Memories" show up on the top of your Facebook page, and a picture that you posted from the past comes up and reminds you of how many years ago you posted a particular picture.

Recently, a Facebook memory showed up on my timeline from six years ago. It was a picture of my daughter playing Challenger Baseball when she was ten years old. She was wearing braces on both of her legs, up at bat, with a huge smile on her face. I instantly began to weep when I saw it. I wept because I remember that during the days of her wearing leg braces, I consciously made myself be aware of my thought patternsand chose to focus on hopeful things for her future. Well, the weeping continued as I thought of her now, about to enter high school as a junior, not needing to wear braces on her legs, actually running on the track team, having a good job and having confidence in herself as a student and as a person.

I'd like to think that I had something to do with that. Because my husband and I chose in the early days of her life to focus on the good, she is becoming what we saw through our vision of hope all those years ago.

My prayer for you this month is that no matter what stage of special parenthood you are in, you will take my words to heart and hope like you never have before-with the confident expectation that your child will achieve above and beyond what you and your family hope for.

Take it from me, I promise you that your new vision will help you see everything and everyone around you clearer than you have ever seen, and in contrast to survival mode, this outlook will breed positive energy and change the atmosphere of your home -and your heart-forever.

Maria Smaldino Spencer is a special mom, special needs consultant and the regional coordinator for the Early Childhood Resource Center. Contact her at



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