Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grandparenting a Special Needs Child

Last Friday our granddaughter, Lilly Grace, spent the night with us. It's always a joy to keep Lilly, even though we can't do the typical things that other grandparents do with their two year old granddaughters.

Lilly isn't able to see us, can't hold her head up without assistance, and has never rolled over on her own. She has to be fed mostly by feeding tube and has three or four seizures a day.

At this point, you are probably thinking, "How can these people find any joy in this situation?"

Honestly, I would have felt the same way before grandparenting this child. But when I hold this beautiful little girl in my arms, I experience the same pride that all grandparents feel.

In my eyes, Lilly could not be anymore perfect. When she squeals in response to my voice, I wouldn't be anymore thrilled if she were able to say "Googoo" or "I love you". When she rubs her little nose against my shirt, it's just as special as if she were able to reach out and hug me.

If I catch her very early in the morning, she might even smile in response to my "Good morning, Sunshine!''

I know that Lilly will never be able to walk, ride a bike, or run and play with other children.

She will probably never be able to see a blue sky, a rainbow or rain falling from the sky. But I know that Lilly experiences love every minute of her life. She knows the tender caress of each member of our family and is never alone in her darkness.

We often have friends tell us that we are an encouragement to them because of the way we, as a family, handle Lilly's condition. I don't feel that we are exceptional in any way. Lilly truly is a gift from God. Through her, he has taught us unconditional love, patience, and to rely on Him for strength in all situations.

When our lives provide us with unexpected circumstances, we can either choose to be "victims" or to be "victorious". We have chosen the latter and will continue to love and cherish each day with our special grandchild!

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