There are many times throughout my mother-of-a-child-with-special-needs journey, usually on really rough days, where I soul search and ask “what’s it all for?” Not “why me”, per se, but why anyone? Why are children born with special needs? Why do we have to struggle? Why does it have to be so hard?
Before I know it, I can think of hundreds of examples of when I’ve experienced the absolute best in people because of Olivia. The husband you knew would be a great father but amazes you every day with his parenting and loving skills. The boys you hoped would be sweet and have become the best boys around. The little girls who played with her at recess because they loved her. The teachers who went the extra mile because they saw how much progress she was making. The friends we’ve all made because of her. Sometimes it feels like I got the short end of the stick, on those days when I feel like I ran a marathon just taking care of her. But then I remind myself that, even though at times I see the worst in people, it’s rare. Almost every day of my life, in almost all of my interactions with my daughter, I see the absolute best in people. What a gift that is!
This past weekend we held our 6th annual Olivia’s Open charity golf outing. Throughout the summer, there are times when I think “Why did I even start this golf outing?” because it’s so much work. It’s right before school starts when we’re trying to cram in all of our last minute summer stuff, soccer is starting and Matt and I are trying to get ready for the new school year. It’s not exactly ideal timing. But then I have friends on Facebook donating silent auction items. Friends coming to Stella and Dot and 31 parties to help raise money. Friends finding businesses, their own or others, to become hole sponsors. Friends coming to golf. Former students who you haven’t seen in ages, but stay in touch with on Facebook, bringing friends to golf. Families in your neighborhood who you don’t see often enough, but still cherish, coming to play minigolf with their kids. Cousins, who you usually only get to see at Christmas, coming out to play golf. A childhood friend’s Dad who comes every year, gives you a big bear hug and loves on Olivia. A woman you randomly met through a friend who comes every single year and brought Olivia a crown this year because she was “the queen”. Your neighbor and friend who comes every year with her family and friends. Another neighbor and friend who spends hours on the course “heckling” golfers for donations at the betting hole. It’s a whole village of support and love. We were able to raise over $7000 for the 5p- society and for Olivia’s care. Can you believe that?
It’s humbling. Humbling to be supported and loved so much. I’m not even sure if Olivia “gets” it but she feels it. She feels loved and that is all that matters. We all feel loved and supported and that is immeasurable. This journey is tough, that’s the truth. But what an amazing gift we’ve been given to see the best in people, don’t you think?