Children are teachers of parents too. My eldest has certainly had her share of "instructions" for mommy and daddy. I am awestruck sometimes at some of the things I have learned from her. But learning doesn't stop with "normal" children. Several days ago, one of my BFFs reminded me of this, by sharing an insight of a good friend; that kids with special needs also allow us to learn something. Infact, our good friend asks -- what can I learn from my child today? And that made me stop and think; do I learn something from Sabina? Have I learned something or somethings from her? And you know what? I sure have!! :)
Allow me to share the top 3 lessons I have learned from my dearest Sabina:
1) The best things in life are the simple things ---- Sabina does not need the latest toy. She is not swayed by the newest craze for kids her age. She just doesn't need to have it, as she doesn't understand. However, Sabina will gravitate towards a colorful block that she can grasp. Or a simple rattle that makes a clinking noise as she shakes it around. She smiles as you flip a board book with her or better yet, she will giggle at your own innovative ways to create sounds (pursing your lips, blowing raspberries on her tummy and exaggerating high pitched sounds). With all the gadgets and electronic toys available today, Sabina teaches me that all you need is a simple toy (and maybe an inexpensive one at that) to bring out a precious bonding moment that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.
2) Communication doesn't have to be verbal ---- Because Sabina cannot talk or babble, I have learned to look at her eyes and watch her body language to figure out what she wants or does not want. (it takes a mother to do this by the way. Inasmuch as Daddy is involved, I think a mother is so attune to her kids, that call it mother's instinct or what, but we can read our kids without having them say much) But for Sabina, I have learned to really be in sync with her. We communicate through eye contact, body movements and touch. She has taught me to be extra sensitive to her needs. Without any word, I know when Sabina is content and happy to be with me. She will hold my arm and sigh. She will look at me and lean her head back against my chest. If she is on her high chair and wants me to pick her up, she will make squirmy movements and keep looking my way until I come to carry her. While I dream of the day to hear Sabina call me mama and say I love you, I learned from Sabina that she says I love you everyday with just her sweet touch and her lingering look. For now that's good enough for me.
3) Look for the joy in everything --- Whether it be the most mundane or routinary event. Sabina has taught me that there is joy and always something to smile about. Case in point -- one morning, while sitting on my tummy and leaning on my legs as I was lying down, I feel hot liquid forming on my stomach. I say animatedly, "Sabina, you peed on mommy!". It seemed like she understood what I said because she smirked when I said that. And when I saw her smirk, I couldn't help but laugh. So even if I was soaked in a warm pool of pee, I found joy in that moment between Sabina and me. :)
When you have a child with special needs, each moment is precious. It is easy to get lost in anxiety for the future. The long list of what ifs that run through your mind is never ending. But if you focus too much on the future and what hasn't yet happened, you can lose out on the present, and what you could be doing and enjoying with your treasured one. Sabina reminds me of this every day. That life is lived today. We enjoy the moments good and bad; and at the end of the day, we lift them up one by one to a Sovereign and Almighty God.
Matthew 6:33-34 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."