Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
Our Military Special Needs Network Military Spouse of the Day is Lori Clark, a Navy spouse, stationed in Virginia. Lori says her best experience with military life has been the lifelong friendships that she has made. Her military friends have become her family. When asked what has been the biggest special needs obstacle that her family has overcome, Lori says that handling their initial diagnosis was probably the hardest part. She was still pregnant when the doctors determined that their daughter was going to face some health challenges. They were not given a good prognosis for her and were advised to terminate the pregnancy. That was a pivotal time that she will always remember. Lori “de-stresses” and takes care of herself because she’s a huge fan of long, very hot baths. “At times, I put my ears under the water and the whole world seems muffled and distant, and sometimes that is just what I need.” Lori also loves to read. She said she has definitely had to re-prioritize on what is truly important and has found that most things can wait another day. “I’ll think about that tomorrow,” is something Lori says frequently. She has learned to say no to over-scheduling herself and her girls. She also gets great joy in helping others. “Sometimes, simply vacuuming the upstairs uninterrupted while our respite care provider is here gives me a huge sense of accomplishment!” Boy, we understand that!
Lori’s best advice for families that are new to the special needs world in the military is that things can (and often will) be overwhelming. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Advocate for your child and for yourself. Learn what resources are available. Often, to start learning what resources are available, you first have to admit to yourself that you don’t know everything, and you don’t have to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they are silly. Don’t take no for an answer if you feel like the answer should be yes.” For example, one day, Lori was at church, on Halloween, trying to complete goodie bags for one daughter’s class while her other daughter was in PreK. She was stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. An older church lady friend came to Lori in this quiet room and hugged her. She said, “Yard by yard, Life is hard. Inch by inch, Life’s a Cinch.” She needed to hear that and remind herself of that often. “Just worry about this one minute if you have to. You’ll get through it!”
The Military Special Needs Network honors and salutes Lori Clark, our Military Spouse of the Day. We thank you for being such a wonderful military spouse and an amazing advocate.
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