Our special needs son, Nate, is a huge Elvis fan. How did he discover The King? I can’t exactly remember. A few years ago he stumbled on his music and then noticed all the other iconic Elvis characteristics such as his colorful clothing, fancy dance moves, and cool hair. He has been a fan ever since! He likes to do his hair like Elvis and has collected a few clothing items that are similar to what Elvis wore. Last year we took him on a trip to Memphis. It was a special time, the first time he got to travel with Mom and Dad by himself without any of his siblings. He had faithfully saved his money to buy a few special clothing pieces. After returning home, I reached out to a photographer friend and she took him for an Elvis photoshoot. He had a blast! It brought joy to all of us, even the photographer knew she was helping to bring his vision to life.

When our special needs son and daughter were young, most of our worries and concerns revolved around school, IEPs, and social development. We are finding ourselves enjoying this young adult season, watching them live out their own hopes and dreams as adults. Parents, school years don’t last forever. IEPs and education decisions will one day be in the rearview mirror. Although there are new concerns that come with parenting adult, special needs children, we have begun to embrace this new phase of helping them live the life they want to live. There will always be concerns and decisions to be made, but we are going to have fun along the way!

Speaking of the photoshoot, months later I got my own mini photoshoot for some writing projects. It included a fun, reflective picture of me showing off a medal I had won. In full disclosure, I didn’t exactly win but received a second-place medal. Now, if you are thinking of something really impressive such as an Olympic medal, lower your expectations. Look at my thighs in the picture and you will know it was not for any athletic pursuit.  I had taken a few flower pictures with my phone. Days later my husband’s employer announced a company art contest. I printed my favorite flower picture from the phone and put it in a frame. It was a compulsive, spontaneous move on a random day, and I enjoyed every minute of it! The medal? –Icing on the cake and I bragged to my family for weeks!

It seems my son and his “Elvis ways” may have become my unexpected inspiration. As I’ve committed to helping him enjoy the small things, I’ve been learning to do the same.

Moms, sometimes we just need to do something out of our normal routine, something that expresses ourselves beyond our titles of mom, caregiver and schedule keeper. We can make a case that time for ourselves is rare because of therapy sessions, doctor appointments, and meal planning, but do it anyway. Find the few minutes, do the silly thing, do the spontaneous thing, go win a medal in the neighborhood block party chili cook-off. I bet you could use the leftover chili you made for dinner on Wednesday, they won’t know the difference, and it’s probably better seasoned now anyway!

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