"I just want my child to be happy!" I hear this all the time as a special needs advocate. I hear it from both parents and teachers. It has always driven me a little nuts, even if its true, because we simply just don't know what happiness is going to be for our kids. Most of us are still trying to figure it out ourselves on some days.
So today I had a huge breakthrough as a mom and it's a little bit bittersweet...
My girls are teens and I love doing things with the 3 of us and we have a great time, but today they are happy and we are all doing different things. We aren't stuck to our phones, we aren't bored, we are all happy. We are all very different.
My youngest daughter has a ton of allergies so we all eat organic. I've always worried about her being able to enjoy fun treats like other kids. I never imagined that she would find a LOVE for baking and simply find her own solution. Today she spent time making delicious, rich brownie cupcakes... no help needed.
She baked these while my oldest daughter went for a walk with her ear buds and camera and her own thoughts. She walked so far that I'm going to go pick her up in a little bit. She got lost in her thoughts and asked if she could just keep going. I heard it in her voice. She is happy. She is peaceful. She is calmer than she has been in days after some typical middle school drama filled her week. She is ok.
My oldest doesn't want to spend any time in the kitchen. My youngest doesn't want to go for long quiet walks. They each would've been miserable if we would've done this together. I've hit a new milestone in parenting... I officially have mini adults in my house that are finding their happy.
So now I have to put this newfound knowledge to work. I'm going to have to break it all down and figure out what skills have they each developed to find their own happy. When writing IEPs, as an advocate, I know I can't quantify happy, but I can determine the skills that it takes to get there. I've been advocating for over 20 years. Each year I become wiser at using the system to get what a child really needs... and now I have even more perspective on achieving the skills every child needs to find their happy.
As parents we can't predict where our children are going to find their happy, but we can be the resource they need to get there.
With Hope Always,