It's a little mind boggling to me sometimes that there are thirty different children here on a fairly regular basis. I've been thinking a lot recently about the mix of children we have here and how that works out daily. About how each day is different, each day is a blessing, each day is an adventure (and each day is exhausting). And no matter the strengths and weaknesses, each child brings some something special to our group.
We have so many issues to deal with each day. Within this group there are physical challenges - asthma, acid reflux, tumors, blindness in one eye, migraines, allergies, and seizures. We also deal on a daily basis with ADHD, Bipolar, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Asperger's ,Oppositional Defiant Disorder, anxiety, depression, global developmental delays, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and one of our kids is nonverbal. And within all of this there are also the kids who have no diagnosis, no major problems, are healthy and "neurotypical."
There are lessons I am learning as I spend each day with these kids.
I am learning that the human spirit is amazingly resilient. That even though there are frequent setbacks, days that are discouraging, long and exhausting and days when it seems there always just one more drama around the corner, there is always tomorrow. We always get to try again. And the amazing thing is, they really do try again. Sometimes it seems like it's two steps forward, two steps back, one step forward, three steps back, five steps forward. But they try. They get up and try and try again. And on the days when I think there is simply no way I can keep going I realize I can't let them down when they are fighting so hard. And so we all get up together and keep on going.
I've learned that I can function on very little sleep and lots of coffee. For a surprising number of days. I've also learned that eventually it will catch up with me and I will crash. Hard. So now I try to build mini breaks into my days. Even if it's just to read a few blogs that help me not to feel alone, catch up on my twitter friends, sit quietly for five minutes and breathe deeply. These little breaks are invaluable.
One of the most real lessons to me, though, is how in spite of all the "differences" we are really all more alike than different. We all want to be loved, to be happy and safe, to be valued for who we are individually. We were each created and designed for a special place and we want the chance to fit into that place and grow into the people we are meant to be. And it's such a privilege for me to be able help each of these kids, even if only in some small way, to find that person and place they are meant to be.