I’m not a huge fan of rock music but my husband, Ryan, is.
While I don’t really “get” the genre (to say the least…sorry rock fans!), one of the “softer” songs he likes is by Daughtry and called “Life after you”.
He always used to say he thought of us when he listened to it back when we were dating and in blissful ignorance of what lay ahead.
He said as long as we had each other and could laugh together, we’d be fine.
As much as I hate to admit it he was right, and I truly don’t make that statement lightly, especially in writing.
We’ll be married for ten years in May and I can honestly say we are as happy now as we were on our wedding day.
Despite that, we’ve faced a lot of hard times together including infertility, ill health, disability and grief.
One of our beautiful triplets has complex needs with all the doctor visits, hospital stays, interventions and operations that go alongside.
Much of our life is absolutely amazing; I love our children, our home, our family and friends yet there really have been some very dark times together where we’ve felt broken.
Much of what has got me through is Ryan, and his often annoying ability to make me laugh in even the toughest of times.
There really is a lot to be said about keeping a positive mindset even during those hard times. Is that always possible?
Of course not!
Sometimes the pain is just too raw that no amount of positivity would get you out of that dark space.
As a special needs parent I have felt that deeply myself and am aware most readers will have too.
We all differ in how we cope and I’ve been in the situation where I have felt anger at people suggesting I “stay positive”, so please bear with me.
Now I can see a bit of improvement in Jacob’s epilepsy and his ability to cope with his world now he is attending a specialised school, I feel I can “step away” a bit and look at things more objectively.
I am making a very conscious effort to adapt my thinking towards a more positive mindset having lived in survival mode for so long now.
I do things like have a “positivity calendar'' of inspirational quotes, spend time with my kids, take time for myself and generally try to shift away from “what if?” thought patterns and towards a “one day at a time” mentality.
One of the big hurdles I found was acceptance.
You’ll be coming from your own point of view and experiences, but generally people do choose to be happy.
It isn’t something that will just happen for you or something you can chase.
Obviously you can adjust things in your life to make you happier, but it’s in making the decision to do this that you will find some peace.
For example, a big challenge recently was accepting Jacob now has learning difficulties and needed to move away from his mainstream school to a specialist setting.
My choice was to fight that (which I did, for a bit!) or accept it and make the best of the situation.
The outcome was the same- he needed to be in a specialist school, but my attitude wasn’t and that’s where the shift came.
I’m not a life coach, psychologist, therapist or any sort of expert really.
All I know is in my own experience, life really is much better if you fill it as much as you possibly can with laughter.