I don’t know how you do it.

Honestly, I don’t know if I could quantify how many times I’ve heard that. We have crazy days around our house. They include nurse juggling, daycare juggling, to-eat-or-not-to-eat-by-mouth-or-gTube juggling, suction juggling, appointment juggling (clients, doctors, therapists, repeat), dance and gymnastic class juggling, yes-you-must-wear-your-speaking-valve juggling, toddler tantrum juggling, five-going-on-sixteen-year-old sulking juggling, what to eat for dinner juggling, did you pay the cable bill juggling…

When it comes down to it, it’s all about keeping multiple balls up in the air. Our family’s juggling act might use different colored, shaped and sized balls — but it’s all juggling.

So my reaction to ‘how do you do it?’ is always the same: the same way you get up every morning and do what you need to do for your kids. 

You may have seen the special needs parent memes or blogs on Facebook (Special needs parents have super powers!). Lots of people have tried to encourage us over the last 19 months with well-meaning words. I’ve especially grown to hate the comment “God gives special children to special people” or — the equally well-meaning but never well taken — “God never gives you more than you can handle.”


{PS – I tend to think both of my kids are pretty special. Regardless of the fact that one is ‘typically’ developing and one has extra medical hardware. I think your kids are pretty special, too.}

Believe me, there are days where I stand aside, close my eyes and silently scream “dear whatever is going to make me stronger, I’m strong enough, thanks.” 

At the end of the day, it’s not about getting through it. Despite what many may think, looking in. It’s about being happy. Having a happy family.

According to happify, 50% of our own happiness is hereditary, 10% of our own happiness is determined by circumstance, and 40% of happiness is controlled by thoughts, actions, and behaviors. 

Pretty powerful numbers, huh? 10% is determined by circumstance.

I can’t control the Little Lion Man‘s medical issues —  any more than my 5-year-old’s unpredictable imagination.  I can manage his care and those he comes into contact with; I can make sure every precaution is made to make sure he stays healthy; I can equip him like any other toddler with the language and skills he needs to start the crazy kid journey toward adulthood; make sure he has all kinds of experiences; make his childhood magical; model kindness and empathy …

… and I can show him how to be happy.  Which means taking each pitch thrown at us with stride and refusing to get mired down in the ‘what if’s and the more dangerous ‘why me’s. Allowing for the moments of insecurity, overwhelmingness, and worry; but consciously and deliberately choosing to seek the goodness in everything. Sometimes that’s literally a person’s smile or kind deed. Sometimes it’s having a dance party in a doctor’s waiting room. A bedtime story. Three seconds of calm on a car ride — and taking a moment to really breath.

A broadway sing-a-long at breakfast. {Watch the video. Little Man’s laugh is infectious… you’ll definitely smile!}

We don’t do it perfectly. It’s a learning process, much like parenting itself. If I’m honest, some days it’s hard to set the example. But we do. Or try to. Every day.

Out of everything we’ve hurdled the last 19 months, I think that may be the greatest gift I can give all of my kids. Especially our little guy.

Choose happiness.