I have saved my best simple pleasure for last.
Day Seven is all about the time I spend enjoying the photography of my multi-talented daughter, Jenna.
Parenting is the most challenging role anyone will ever take on, and few of us escape the journey mistake free. Add special needs to the equation and the challenges and rewards of that dicey walk become increasingly heightened. Special needs parenting is not for the fainthearted.
I believe strongly that no one faces the challenges presented these families with more love, loyalty, determination and spirit than do all those remarkable siblings. How they turn out as adults is, in large part, our fragile responsibility, one all parents should take seriously. I find the sibling voice so important that I included a entire chapter on addressing their needs in my book Breakthrough Parenting (click on book image on far left to order). Jenna made valuable contributions to the book, including the book's cover photo.
Our family faced the daily demands presented by our son with great love and determination and also provided him with exciting life opportunities. We worked hard to make sure we nurtured all Jenna's dreams, too, an effort that was easier to realize on some days than others. There were many rough moments, but we always took time to check in and make sure our firstborn was okay, and then kept our parenting fingers crossed tightly.
To see Jen become the beautiful, productive and talented young adult she is today, has offered us healing in more ways than one. It's helped validate our hard work and solid commitment to parenting both of our children well. It's made sleepless nights, frantic schedules, crazy juggling, many tears and yes, laughter, all the more worthwhile.
As a mother, being able to enjoy my daughter's amazing talent and life today has been incredibly rewarding, and such fun. I marvel at her many gifts, and I'm so proud to share just a bit of her talent with you. I hope it's an inspiration and example for your own life. This much I know. I'm still learning much from my daughter, and loving every single moment.
Be sure to spend time with all the kids in your family. They're all special.
(Photos copyright by Jenna Winter 2008. Used with permission. All rights reserved).