This week, Amy interviewed Jennifer Dukes Lee on the podcast. If you haven’t listened to it – put it in your queue – it’s really good. Jennifer tells her story of how she has often measured success by the boxes that are checked, the things accomplished – move fast and get it all done, but then some health issues caused her to slow down. She learned that growing slowly is the best and wrote a book by the same name.
It made me think a lot about us – disability moms and their kids. We often feel like we’re falling behind and that our kids are falling behind. We compare our kids to others, even to their siblings, and wonder if they will ever be normal. There isn’t anything wrong with therapy, practice, or taking steps to help our kids be more successful, but what is most important is the process of becoming. Jennifer says, “We have to make peace with the process you’re making now and let go of the notion that you’re falling behind.” Even in seasons of winter, good things are happening underground, things we can’t even see.
It reminds me of my favorite episode of Bluey in season 2, episode 47. If you’re unfamiliar, Bluey is an Australian-based cartoon of a family of Blue Healer dogs. The writing is absolutely fantastic, and even my older teenagers enjoy watching it.
In this particular episode, Bluey (the oldest daughter in the family) is showing off on the monkey bars, comparing herself to her friend, Judo, whom she’s grown up with. Bluey comments that she’s doing things better than Judo on the monkey bars, and her mom, Chilli, comments, “Judo will get there. Run your own race, Bluey.”
Then she tells the story of the early years when Bluey rolled over early but then fell behind Judo in the areas of crawling and walking. Throughout the episode, you see Bluey’s mom reading books at the pediatrician’s office, worried about her daughter’s development or modeling how to do things properly. Even Grandma steps in with olive oil on the knees to encourage her not to crawl but walk! Finally, towards the end, she becomes so discouraged she doesn’t show up to the mom’s group she frequently attended. Another mom, Coco, comes to see her. Coco shows her a photo of her family – she has so many kids, she’s lost count, but encourages Chilli with this statement;
“You’re doing great.” Today I think you need to hear the same thing:
You’re doing great. Your kids are just fine.
We all have to run our own race. Sometimes the most important thing we can do is take the next right step, nurture what we have, and where we are, not forever chasing after the next treatment, or doctor, or therapist to fix our kids. Connection with God and others is so important. Don’t be in a hurry. Jennifer said in that same podcast episode:
We cannot hurry and connect at the same time.
The best things in life take the longest to grow.
It’s about time that we make peace with where our kids are and release the idea that we or our kids are falling behind. We are right where we need to be, and if you know in your heart that you need to change something, then take that small step toward God, towards His Word. He’s waiting with open arms. Have you ever noticed that when you feel behind in your Bible reading, listening to a podcast, or even reading a book, (maybe, The Other Side of Special, wink wink); you open it up and read exactly what you needed for that moment? The Holy Spirit will reveal what we need, let’s keep our hearts open to what He has for us, walking with Him step by step by step. It’s in the process of becoming that the greatest fruit is produced – not the end product.
Lastly, find a friend like Coco to encourage you and notice when you’re not there, and I’m here to tell you once again – You’re doing great! In the deliberate slow steps of small decisions, you’re creating a life, make it what you want that to be.