Old Me, New Me • How Special Needs Shapes You

I was serving for the match…I can feel the heat of the court.  I can feel the adrenaline. I can almost feel the racquet in my hand.  I win the match.  It was a great time of my life, it is a great memory.

I remember the happiness of my dates with my then boyfriend-now husband.  Again great memories.

I remember looking into the eyes of my first born child, Emily.  Her eyes were filled with a brightness, she was full of life and love.  There were no real worries in our life then.  Once again great memories

We can all remember those feelings of being a child, with a carefree attitude, the fun summer times spent with no real schedules, just fun…the fun like winning that tennis match.

If you are blessed you will have met that special person who becomes your other half…and have the joy of love.
Old Me, New Me - How Special Needs Shapes YouIf you are like me, you will have a child who is typically wonderfully developing…and you will remember the brightness in those eyes.

I was once that carefree person…

I know I was because I can remember waking up on those mornings with Emily and simply going about the business of life.  I would wake up and know that anything was possible, and doable.  I believe for me that is the definition of carefree. A healthy, well developing child allows you this luxury. and even if I must say makes most other stressful things manageable…yes carefree is how I would define it.

On June 29th some 14 years ago, I changed from that carefree person…I gave birth to Elizabeth, our second child.  From the very start, we knew something was wrong and as we tried to figure out what it was or what to do I slowly but surely lost the ability to be carefree.

I no longer woke up with the feeling that all was possible.   No, when she was young, I woke up with a dread in my stomach and spirit, just wondering what the day would bring.  How was I going to handle it all and still try to find out how to help Elizabeth.

We found out what she had: sensory processing disorder and global dyspraxia.  We found out how to help her: with therapies and follow-up work at home.  She eventually talked at age five.  Yes, in all the work, we found our daughter, and she is lovely, funny, fun, complex, happy, amazing and worth every bit of it all.

I learned much about myself in this long journey…I am strong. I learned that I can work pretty darn hard for what I want and that I want the best for Elizabeth.  I learned to relish the littlest of successes. I learned how to pick myself up from a disappointment. I have learned to live in the moment.  I learned that crying is not a sign of giving up, it is simply a release, a moment to hit the pause button and regroup. I learned that I can smile and love my day, even when it is unlike any day my friend are having.  I learned and learned and some 15 years later I still learn.

Like Gina stated in her post, she will never be the person she once was, I too share that sentiment.  I think anyone who has a child with special needs can say they are different than before.

I lost my carefree self, I know I won’t see that girl again. But the blessings Elizabeth has brought, the gifts she gives to us, those intangibles are amazing. I am different from before, but better I feel.


(Photo by: Gnackgnackgnack via Flickr)


Michele Gianetti
Michele Gianetti is a registered nurse, who previously worked as a school nurse.  She is now a stay-at-home mom and an advocate for her second child, who has special needs.  She loves to read, write and exercise (running is her favorite), and is the proud mom of three beautiful children who loves spending time with her children and her husband. Raising awareness for her daughter Elizabeth’s disorders, dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder, is a big passion of Michele’s.  She does this through her writings and her book. “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey.” You can follow Michele’s writings on this site, as well as her blog, Michele Gianetti: life with Dyspraxia and SPD.  You can also follow her on facebook and pinterest, or contact her directly via email.
Michele Gianetti

2 Responses to Old Me, New Me • How Special Needs Shapes You

  1. My heart caught when I read your words: “I no longer woke up with the feeling that all was possible.” A thought that may as well have come from my own mind. I hear you. Some days (like today, when kids are almost out for summer and two have special needs…) I really miss that carefree way of being. Here’s to finding joy in the care-full, somehow, in some surprising way. And in the meantime, so grateful for others who get it.

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