I don’t know if it’s just me, but as a so-called ‘special needs parent’, I love a quote. Since having my son Brody nearly 10 years ago, I’ve been drawn to them. They’ve been on the walls of our home, saved as screenshots on my phone and on countless social media posts of mine. They make me feel seen. Like I’m not alone. And at times they’ve given me strength.
Here are a few favourites of mine.
- “Comparison is the thief of joy”
Whilst it’s completely natural to compare your life to others, it’s never a good idea. When you’re struggling with something it’s an easy thing to do, but it really is a thief of joy. Don’t compare. Chances are you’re comparing to something that isn’t quite as it seems anyway.
This leads me nicely on to quote number two…
- “Life is never like the controlled content of someone else’s social media”
Everyone is guilty of posting ‘Instagram’ photos rather than the reality. After all, who wants to see the not-so-cheery stuff? But just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Everyone has bad days. Everyone has troubles and worries and things that they don’t want to put on their social media. Social media is just the highlights reel – remember that.
- “Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk on - but no flowers grow on it” (Vincent Van Gogh)
Ooh this is a good one, isn’t it? And so true. My son Brody has taught me many things but one of the greatest things I’ve learned from being his parent is that happiness and beauty can be found in the simplest things – and it’s something I feel privileged to really *get*, thanks to him.
- “Just because someone carries it all so well, doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy”
Preach! Every time I see this quote, I think of the parent carers that I know. Their strength and resilience to fight for services, raise awareness and live their lives with some pretty heavy stuff.
On the surface, family and friends often think they are fine because they appear to carry it all so well.
They get told that they’re superhuman, but newsflash – we’re not. We are just like you. They carry the load for the same reason every parent of any child does - love. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not heavy. At times, it’s crushing.
- “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like, and celebrating it for everything that it is” (Mandy Hale)
This is one of my all-time favourites. When I first saw two pink lines on a pregnancy stick, admittedly Brody wasn’t the child that I imagined. That sounds awful out loud but it’s the truth. But you know, I am so lucky that he is the child that I got. I love him more than life itself. Once you accept that your life might not take the path you expected you find acceptance and happiness in what you have. And what I have is a beautiful, awesome boy who I celebrate every day.
- “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but a good amount of it actually is”
Sometimes life is heavy and hard but there are lots of good days too. That’s always worth remembering.
- “Always look at what you can do” (Henry Fraser)
I love this quote by mouth artist Henry Fraser, so much so I bought his painting saying just that. I want my children to focus on what they can do, not what they can’t. It’s something we all should do.
- "The siblings of special needs children are quite special. Absolutely accepting and totally loving, from birth, someone who is different mentally, and has a different way of seeing the world, is a wonderful trait. It's a trait I wish there was another way of getting, but there isn't. And it does involve a degree of not having it fantastically easy" (Sally Phillips)
I instantly related to this quote by the actress Sally Phillips, who is a fellow member of the tribe. My daughter Sydney is an amazing big little sister. She understands Brody better than anyone else and is fiercely protective of him. She is very special.
- “Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms”
I saw this quote for the first time the day after I miscarried my second child. I was overwhelmed with sadness, and it was quite a tricky time in my life where I thought I must have done something seriously bad in a past life. Do you know when it’s literally one thing after another? Anyway, I remember Brody looking up at me and just giving me life. It’s important to count your rainbows when you can.
- “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not” (Dr. Seuss, The Lorax)
Being Brody’s mum has made me care a lot more than I used to. Particularly about things I once never considered. I work for the charity PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society) on the Changing Places toilet campaign. I worked with Tesco on the Tesco Health Junior Nappies. I am a member of my local Disability Access Panel. I am proud ‘that mum’.
This quote rings so many truths. There is so many battles to be fought when you have a disability. Accessibility. Inclusion. Discrimination. Acceptance. The disability price tag. The list is endless.
We need everyone to care so that things can get better. Otherwise, they won’t.