We recently finished speaking for a Familylife Weekend to Remember and seemed to hear a common thread from others about what they heard from us as we spoke about our family and son with special needs. Several wrote us notes, private messages on FB, texts, and this one hand written note, “Your vulnerability and transparency about Joey was the pivotal moment in this conference. It’s not about feeling bad for you (as parents), it’s about being inspired to receive and love unconditionally!!”
Wow, we were so encouraged to hear that. Additionally people spoke to us sharing much of the same thing. One gal thanked Cindi for sharing challenges and failures in parenting from which she could relate. While we are grateful for these kind words of encouragement we feel we have often taken the life-long challenge as a gift that others haven’t had the pleasure to receive. Along with that has come many realizations that keep us grounded in reality. So, often when we are sharing challenges, we cloak it with, “this is not a complaint, it’s just a fact.” Let us show you how that looks and sounds:
While many things can be a challenge, we challenge ourselves to find humor in it. So for us, it’s:
Not a complaint, just a fact:
Joey often gets up at 4 a.m. to visit us. This 6’4” 4 year old wants to hop in bed and sausage Cindi in the middle as he wiggles in to lay down his head. (We know it’s quite a word picture!)
When Joey knocks at our closed and locked bedroom door (when we’d like a little, shall we say, privacy) he doesn’t stop until we answer.
When we hear yelling from his room or the basement we generally realize it’s because he just mastered one of his video games. No need to panic, just yell back, “YEAH, JOEY!”
Fussing and being uncooperative happens more than we share. We need to work him down from his frustrations or melt down; often because his verbal skills are so low and we don’t understand what is causing the frustration. Not often easy to do with a grown man who is 6’4’ tall!
Loud and sudden noises, commotion, crying children, wild children, barking dogs, unexpected changes, etc. can trigger him to respond in various ways; most which we don’t anticipate because they are different every time!
As we look over this list, we realize it’s not complete, and for you, we know there will be other and various bullet points. But we know for certain, that while there are challenges, we have come to embrace them as facts and not things to complain about. Had we been given the chance for Joey to be healed as a little boy we’d have gladly said, “YES!” Today, if God gave us the option, we’d say, “No, thank you. He’s perfect just like he is and perfect for us.” And that’s a fact!
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at www.cindiferrini.comand social media at: www.facebook.com/cindi.ferrini, www.facebook.com/UnexpectedJourney/, www.facebook.com/MyMarriageMatters/