Sometimes, I wish people could spend a day in my shoes. But, it's probably not for the reasons you think. Sure, if someone swapped lives with me, they'd be a little overwhelmed by the vest therapy treatments. The person would probably wish they had a nursing degree as they pulled medicine into a syringe or put Jaycee on her bi-pap at night. They'd be lost when it comes to keeping Jaycee safe and secure inside the house and outside of it.
My intention in a life swap would not be for pity or to get people to understand the work involved in Jaycee's care.
No, the swap would be all about teaching people the value of life and the value of setting right priorities.
I want people to understand that my nonverbal child is smart, funny, and sweet. She can sign and gesture her way through a television show that is truly entertaining. Her hugs and kisses are desired by everyone close to her, except her little brother. A day with Jaycee would surely show other people her personality that isn't defined by the label of Down syndrome. If they opened their heart, they would feel the love she gives to those close to her.
I want people to see that in caring for someone else day after day with no "recognition" is an opportunity to act out the heart of Jesus. Having a special purposed child means you have to die to self even more. Putting a child's needs above your own is what any mother does, but this goes on in a deeper way and for a longer period of time when your child is special purposed. Loving someone unconditionally. Showing patience and understanding in situations that can test your limitations. Caring for your special purposed child teaches you about yourself. Your strengths and your weaknesses as a caregiver are revealed. If someone swapped lives with me, they would hopefully discover something new about themselves.
There are too many people out there selfishly going through life with out-of-whack priorities. I'm not a perfect person, but I do believe that having a special purposed child gives you a unique perspective. When you have a special purposed child, you realize that a B or a C on a report card is okay as along as it was your child's best. You understand that a child that doesn't talk has communication. You understand that your child's life purpose is important even if it doesn't include being a star athlete or the most popular child. You understand that the size of your house or the amount of money in your bank account means absolutely NOTHING when your child is laying sick in a hospital bed. You understand the importance of positive relationships because in times of trouble, certain people have proven themselves invaluable to you. You understand that the lives of those with disabilities need to be protected from the peers on the playground all the way up to the lawmakers in Washington.
If I swapped lives with someone, that person would truly learn so much. And me...I would miss my life.