By Kathy Campbell, Office Manager at The Arc of GHN
It’s that time of year, when we reflect on 2017 and look ahead to a new year. We give thanks for the blessings we’ve experienced and hope for what the new year can offer.
Here at The Arc of Greater-Haverhill Newburyport, we are grateful for everything our community has accomplished together this year. I joined The Arc of GHN team this year as part of a new middle-management leadership team and I am personally thankful to have joined an organization that goes above and beyond to listen to, empower, honor, and respect those with disabilities.
While I am new here at The Arc, the work we do has always been close to my heart. I have two beautiful daughters and one awesome son. My son just happens to have an intellectual disability. All three of my children are blessings to me, and they are the first thing I thought of when I asked myself what I am thankful for this year. Is each a different blessing? Yes. But a blessing just the same.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t know first-hand that being a parent is hard, especially of a child with disabilities. You always put them before yourself. It requires sacrifice and means feeling exhausted most of the time. On bad days, it makes you want to cry. Then, on good days, you want to pat yourself on the back because you made it through the day. But you wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world. That’s parenting. We grow and we love in ways we never knew before.
Yes, having a child with a disability takes a strong person. Sometimes, I am not so strong and I have more than I can handle. It can be a tough and long road sometimes. Deep down, I wonder, could I do more? Could I try harder? Am I really doing all I can? And yet I stand strong.
We hear the saying “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Even on those bad days, I must rise to the challenges and be the parent that my child needs.
Most parents with a child with a disability know that their child is a blessing. We parents could use a kind reminder that perhaps we are a blessing also. This is that reminder! So yes, I am thankful for my job at The Arc. I am also thankful for being a mother of a child with disabilities; it’s a life of joy, love and strength. For that I am forever grateful and blessed.