There is a woman I will bless with a child that is less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a “spoken word.” She will never consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it.

Erma Bombeck

I read this quote when Nichole was just a baby. My journey with special needs was just beginning, and Erma Bombeck’s words touched my heart. It was hard to know what the future would hold. It was impossible to know which milestones my daughter would reach…or not.

My oldest daughter made reaching milestones seem easy. She was walking at 13 months. An she was a fluent speaker at age two. These are the milestones that I think about often, because I now have two other daughters who each struggle in their own way. My daughter with Down syndrome struggles with her speech, and my daughter with cerebral palsy struggles with her walk.

But life is not only about wishing, because we have reached milestones, and the celebration has been a real act of joy!

I can communicate with Nichole. Her speech might not be very clear, and her words limited, but we can talk. She tells me what she wants, she tells me what she needs. She even acts out stories for me. Her sense of humor is great and I celebrate the fact that we do have communication. Speech will come, slowly, but it will come.

Nina walks. Her gait could be better, her balance could definitely improve, but she can walk. She walks independently, with no help, no support, even without a walker. And while she might not be able to walk independently down the street, she can do it at home. And we celebrate the fact that she can do it. We are so proud for the hard work and the courage it takes her to get up when she falls down and gets hurt. She does not give up.

And so I remember Erma’s words, and I realize that yes, indeed, I am blessed. I do not take spoken words for granted, not even one. And I do not consider steps ordinary, not even one. Celebrating milestones is a normal part of our life. Nothing is too small or too insignificant to take notice and to rejoice. No, when we witness a miracle, we know it, therefore, we celebrate!

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