Our daughter Rachel was telling me about a new friend at college who gets upset at every little thing, from an email that doesn’t get answered to losing a favorite scarf. Rachel was telling her that our family tends not to be upset by little things, mostly due to her younger brother Danny having special needs.
I had to laugh when she said that, since our home has its own share of drama from stopped-up toilets to missing cats, but it is true that having a family member with developmental disabilities gives us a different outlook than many. Dealing with chaos has its privileges. We are used to the last-minute crisis, can handle a vast array of minor medical issues and keep on hand the appropriate cleaning materials for all types of messes. Most importantly, we have learned how to improvise.
When Rachel was in Shalhevet Middle School, the girls were all brought together for some type of group counseling program and the question was posed, “What really upsets your Mom?” Many of the budding teens talked about such everyday annoyances as red wine being spilled on white rugs (who would ever own such a thing?) and finding a tear in a favorite dress while heading out of the house. I think Rachel talked about our car breaking down at night just after we had dropped off my husband at LAX for a business trip (to France no less). Danny started to cry along with the moaning engine so I pulled into a nearby gas station, trying to stay calm and figure out what the hell to do. Just as I was getting ready to call a friend for help, a taxi driver with no passengers pulled up to get some gasoline. The three of us jumped into the van and went home.
As we like to say—“Don’t worry—it could always be worse.”
For Los Angeles-area friends with special needs kids and teens—Come to the Kehillah Kedosha OurSpace Gathering this Sunday, September 18th at 2:30 in Gates Canyon Park/Brandon’s Village in Calabasas. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org