Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
As special military families, we’re all too familiar with brick walls. Every new diagnosis, change in schedule, PCS move, new doctor, insurance transition, deployment, and IEP each bring their own brick walls. Sometimes, it feels as if we are surrounded with no gear or sledgehammer to get us through. Challenges can feel insurmountable and we typically retreat in fear, frustration, anger, and resentment.
Our brick walls can hinder us from accomplishing our own goals or those we want for our children. They prevent us from seeing what’s on the other side. In fact, today I encountered my own new brick wall. My daughter’s eye doctor told me that her vision impairment could be progressive and lead to blindness. Devastated, I came home, cried, and drank a glass bottle of wine and cried some more. I looked through my not-so-rosy lens that reflected my exhaustion, sadness, and fear of the unknown.
But, in the words of the late Dr. Randy Pausch, “The brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” They provide us with an opportunity to raise our bar, our expectations, and fight past our fears as we push forward to get to the other side.
Walt Disney once said, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me….You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Notice that he didn’t say, “Hang in there” or “You can get through this.” Instead, Walt says that getting kicked in the teeth may be the “best thing in the world” for you.
We are all strong, steadfast military families. We get kicked in the teeth and overcome brick walls every single day. We don’t subject our children to doctors, tests, and hour after hour of therapy for fun and entertainment; we do it because we are persistent and we will do whatever it takes to allow them to live at their fullest potential. Brick walls allow us to discover how much we really want something and we face this adversity with courage and determination every single day. We learn from our experiences and grow stronger. After all, we can’t change the cards we’ve been dealt in the game of life; just the way we play our hand.
When living the life of a special needs military family, sometimes it can feel like you come up against one brick wall after the other. Whatever your current challenge is, I promise you, it will not be the last one that you will face. Choose to view your next wall as an opportunity and a challenge for you to prove just how badly you want to overcome it. And if you get kicked in the teeth, remember, it just might be the best thing in the world for you.
Be strong, my friends.
Wendy Kruse is a military spouse, mother to two beautiful girls, and the CEO of the Military Special Needs Network. She became an advocate in 2006 when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with severe neurological and developmental delays. Having experienced the overwhelming feelings that confront parents after receiving a devastating diagnosis, Wendy knows how challenging it can be to navigate the world of special needs in the military and the myriad of decisions that we are faced with. Contact Wendy via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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