Even after many years as a special needs momma, having people say the strangest things to me, this question posed to me last week really caught me off guard. It wasn’t so much the question, “How can you smile?” but the fact that it was posed by another special needs mom. She wasn’t joking and she wasn’t being dramatic. She was seriously questioning me about something that she perceived as out of the realm of possibility, and her tone indicated that it bothered her.

Actually, her question had two parts; the second was much worse than the first, and that’s what threw me off.  She approached me at a Special Olympics event where my husband and I sat in the stands, ready to cheer on my son—if he actually ran. The starter gun was such a huge obstacle for him to overcome that it was 50-50 at best. There we sat, praying internally while cheering for the other athletes whose races were before Nick’s race. Out of the blue, a mom from Nick’s school walked over, looked right into my eyes she asked, “How can you smile? With so many problems!” To be honest with you, friends, I didn’t answer her with a kind, teaching or loving spirit. It made me really defensive. I quipped (with a smile), “I don’t have any problems!” and dismissed her so I could continue to cheer for the races that were taking place.

I love mentoring special needs mommas, it’s my calling and my passion. But I was a complete failure in that moment, and I’m not really feeling much guilt about it in the aftermath. I’m also human. I love my life and my family, and if you come at me telling me we have “so many problems,” you’re going to get a lot of Mama Bear, and not very much Mama Teacher.

Having had a few days to reflect, I want to answer her question. And just in case you sometimes wonder what the heck you have to smile about, I’m going to share my top five answers with you. Perhaps the teaching, mentoring opportunity that I blew last week can be redeemed by sharing this list with you:

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Source: Special Needs Parenting- Key Ministry

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