For a long time now, I’ve wondered why God sent Liam to me. Not in a “why me?”, feeling-sorry-for-myself kind of way, but I wonder constantly what makes me uniquely qualified to be Liam’s mother because I believe the children we get are sent to us for a purpose. Especially when almost daily I feel completely inadequate to deal with the unique challenges that being Liam’s mom brings, I wonder what qualities I possess that made Heavenly Father say, “This quirky little martian? Send him to Shauna! She is the perfect mother to handle that.” Now, understand that I will NEVER feel like I am the PERFECT mother to handle Liam’s challenges, but I will say that today I feel like I understand a little bit why he was sent to me.
Maybe it’s the redhead in me, but I have very strong opinions about things. And, much to the chagrin of my husband, I ALWAYS think I am right. Now, I’m not saying this is a great quality of mine, but I will say that it helps me to be a better mom for Liam. When doctors wanted to amputate his fingers, I didn’t just say “Doctors know best.” I got online and researched my butt off on the subject and I fought for what I felt was right for my son. We had to fly clear across the country and spend a ton of money that we wouldn’t have had to otherwise (we were originally accepted to Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake, so Liam’s surgeries would have been completely free), but we don’t ever regret our decision and know that it was right for Liam.
Fast forward to today. Many of our friends and family know about Liam’s developmental delays, some of you do not. Basically, Liam has been working with therapists since he was 11 months old, teaching him how to do everything from roll over on his own to walking and most recently speech therapy and social skills. Liam doesn’t just pick up on things and develop skills the way other kids do. Everything that he knows how to do, it has been an uphill battle to teach him to do it. When Liam turned three, he was evaluated by the school system and it was determined that he qualified for special education services, so he started a special needs preschool. Now, when you have a child in the special ed program, they have a little meeting called an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) to determine what that child’s needs are and then make specific goals. Because I had no idea what to expect, I just assumed that the specialists from the school would know what services he needed and create appropriate goals from there. When Liam’s IEP was created, these specialists kept checking boxes right and left saying that Liam didn’t need this service or that service. It seemed to me at the time that he was not getting nearly enough services, but every time I raised a concern, they’d tell me that that part of the program didn’t apply to Liam. Well… this has not sat well with me. I have now done my research, talked with a couple specialists outside of Liam’s “team” and am now prepared to go to battle with the school to get Liam the services he needs.
Even though I feel inadequate (what mother doesn’t, amiright?) to be entrusted with such a special little boy, I know now that I do have unique qualities to be Liam’s mother. Liam needed a mother that could fight for him. Despite all my faults, I am not a person that can be steamrolled by “policies” or pushed around by doctors and specialists simply because they ARE doctors and specialists. I am that mother that will not shut up or back down until I get what I want. And as annoying as that can be for all of you that have to deal with me on a regular basis (Sorry, Jesse! I love you!), I’m glad it’s the way that I am. Because I finally feel like I have something unique to offer my son. A reason why he was sent to me. Heavenly Father said, “This little boy has got a long, hard road ahead of him, send him to that feisty redhead!”