Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Power of One

Sometimes as parents of children with disabilities, we can become overwhelmed by our long daily lists of very important things to do. Yes, we agree with the need for us to be teachers for our children, but then we are also nurses and therapists. And we feel as if no one person can possibly fulfill all of those needs.

And if you think that, you are absolutely right. You can't.

But you can do One Thing, and you can do that One Thing every day. And even if you can do only one helpful activity with your child, you are farther ahead than you were yesterday.

As you keep on doing that One Thing, it becomes second nature to you. And then you can add One More Thing.

So to start climbing up out of the pit of despair, here are some rules to live by which were taught to me by a very little person with Down syndrome:

1. Prioritize. Will it die if you don't feed it? Then it's important.

2. Simplify. Simplify your meals, simplify your schedules, simplify your ambitions. There will be another stage in life where you will have sparkling windows, fashionable decor, and elaborate dinner parties. That time is not now.

3. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go of worrying about what people think; let go of your pride; let go of your ideas of perfection.

4. Pray. Remember that you, under no circumstances, can do it all. But you have access to a God who can.

I am only one.
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything.
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
...And with God's help, I will.
--Edward Everett Hale


Philip May said...

Great post.

When I was single, I rented a room from a friend who had a young child. Both of us worked hard all day, and when I came home, all I wanted was to sit and relax. He had to keep going, feeding, cleaning, bathing, caring.

Amazed, I asked "how do you do it?" He replied, "I don't know, you just do it."

Now I have two of my own, each with their own challenges, and when I feel like I can't muster the energy, I think "you just have to do it."

A lot of other stuff doesn't, though!


Ralph Dickerson said...

Karen, Oh that we could clone you and Nevin for all of those who don't get the special care that Wade and the others get. You are that one and you are making a difference. Not only in Wade's life but in the lives of those who are inspired by your posts.