As I sit here and write this, my mind is going a hundred miles a minute with all the things that need to be done. I just spent most of my day doing college algebra homework. Addition, subtraction, integers, equations, and real numbers, oh my! My brain is screaming at me to stop and realize that I am almost 40 years old.
Since I was a little girl, my goal was to go to college. What I wanted to be would change a hundred times, but the want and desire for a college degree never did. My senior year of high school I got pregnant and married a few months before graduation. I put the idea of college out of my head, but it never left my heart.
A year went by and an opportunity for me to go to school arose. I registered and went for a couple of semesters and then life happened and I was not able to go back. I would try several more times but it never seemed to work out.
Three years ago, my husband began having clonic-tonic seizures and was given a medical retirement. We knew that we would not be able to live off what he would be bringing home. I began to look for a job and was having no luck. I decided that I was going to go back to school. I enrolled and I am proud to say that in three short months, I will graduate from college with a Bachelor’s degree.
It has been a challenge and there have been times I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing?” Sitting in classes and being the oldest person there or being older than the professor does play mind games with you, but I do not regret one minute of it. The tests, late night studying, working full-time, being a mother to four kids (one with a disability), and the only driver in our household…I would do it all over again.
I want to encourage you to chase after your dreams. At times, we forget that we are more than a parent to a child with special health care needs. It consumes our whole life and we begin to forget our own dreams. It is never too late—and I say this as the oldest person in my college algebra class.
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'
—Mary Anne Radmacher, American author and artist
Look here for more examples of self-care so you can also follow your dreams.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.