Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding Joy in the Little Things

Raising a child with a developmental delay comes with more than it's fair share of stress and grief. But I have discovered over the past three years that it also brings moments of joy that I never expected. I have learned to look at life and the world around me in a completely different way since Aaron was born.

Tonight as I was putting Aaron to bed, I had a few minutes to think about how lucky I am to have - and appreciate - these moments. His developmental delays can be really stressful because it takes him so long to get past those difficult stages (hitting, biting, screaming. etc) that all kids go through. But I get more of the sweet moments too. He was the happiest, most cuddly baby I have ever seen for at least the first 18 months of his life. And even though he's three now, he's still my baby. I can still rock him to sleep.

And even though it takes him a lot longer to learn those skills that most kids acquire so easily (like walking and talking), when they do come, it's like magic. I really can't describe the feeling I get when he meets another milestone. I was proud of Jacob when he did those things, but you just take them for granted when you have a typical child. You get excited for a day or two and then it's on to the next milestone. But when Aaron learned to sit up, crawl, stand and walk, it was like time stood still. We had waited so long and worked SO hard to make these things happen, it was just an unbelievable feeling when he actually did them. I feel like I have been given a gift because I am actually able to appreciate and cherish these moments because I know how much it took to get there.

There are so many more of those moments with him too. Instead of just focusing on those major milestones, we have dozens of other "smaller" milestones to meet in between those big ones. And each of those are just as exciting and important. They all take work and he can't accomplish the bigger things before he does the smaller ones. All kids have to meet these smaller milestones, it's just that they come easily to typical kids and we don't realize they have even happened.

These moments of joy may not seem like a lot, but I think it's so important to look for the silver lining when life it hard. Raising a child with Down Syndrome (or any developmental delay) may not be easy, but it will always be worth it.


  1. Beautifully stated, Kristi! Waiting for things certainly can make us appreciate them more, but the waiting is hard. Glad you're finding silver linings. Love you!

  2. I agree, Kristi! With Ben's torticollis and plagiocephaly, he's late or on the later side of gross motor skills. When the milestones come, it's amazing! I try to remember to give a prayer of thanks for everything he has accomplished and that I continue to enjoy him how he is now, and not focus on what he's not. Great post!