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“You can tell that you are very passionate about what you do and genuinely care about helping parents be the best versions of themselves. I was able to see that in all the emails you sent, as well as your welcome videos, and in your podcasts that I listened to over the past year.
“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for putting yourself out there to help others. This is truly YOUR gift, and it’s awesome to see you use it to better the world!”
I teared up reading this email, from NPC member Kathleen.
Her letter dropped into my inbox on a particularly frustrating day, one in which it seemed like there were fewer gifts in my life, and more struggles.
But reading this letter, I felt my challenges recede, and my feelings of thankfulness and gratitude come forward.
Longtime readers/listeners to the podcast might know that I have a tendon disorder.
My tendons develop scar tissue extremely fast, relative to (likely) yours. This is because of an ingredient in a lifesaving course of antibiotics I needed 8 years ago.
My life is completely different now, from before I developed the tendon disorder.
In these eight years I have:
– Lost the ability to walk more than a few steps
– Relied on a wheelchair, especially when out in the world, for about 18 months
– Became unable to use my hands more than 5% of the amount of time a typical person could use her hands
– Developed suicidal ideations
All, as I’m sure is obvious, pretty bad stuff.
But that’s not the only part of this story. It’s not all about the bad stuff.
In these 8 years I have also:
– Regained my lower-body mobility, going on to walk, hike, even ski
– Found that requiring a wheelchair was not the death sentence that I thought it might be
– Regained some use of my hands and arms
– Discovered I could rely on others, especially my husband and sons, for all the mechanical and motoric things I could not do
– Realized how devastated the people who love me would be, if I acted on those suicidal ideations
I’ve heard it said of life that you’re only given the challenges you can surmount.
Over these eight years, I’ve learned how it feels to experience true, soul-sucking pain.
(Honestly, what I share here only scratches the surface. There is a whole psychological element that accompanies the physical aspects of chronic illness… but perhaps I’ll save that for another post : )
On every level – mental, physical, spiritual – the tendon disorder was a huge challenge.
It still is.
But I have also learned that I have strength I never knew about.
And, I learned how necessary I am – how much my family, and friends, need me – even without fully-functional limbs. I learned how dear they are to me, and how precious the time spent with them is.
I learned something else, too: without this tendon disorder, there would be no We Turned Out Okay.
No books, no podcast, no website.
(There would be no collaborations, such as this one, about how to celebrate the best Thanksgiving Day ever.)
There would be no Ninja Parenting Community.
I would be wondering, yearning, wishing that I could act on the impulse to take a step into the unknown, and start something.
But there would have been nothing to push me over the edge into actually doing it.
I only found the courage to take that step into the unknown… because so much had been taken away from me.
I was stripped down to my true essence.
I no longer could rely on my limbs; instead I needed to look to my heart, and my mind. And my voice.
Which, in a really cool and circular way, prompted Kathleen to write those words I shared up at the top of this email.
Each of us has gifts to be thankful for.
I am more thankful that I can say that you are reading my words today.
I am incredibly thankful that you give me the gift of your attention.
I am super thankful that you would listen to me, and try to learn from my knowledge of child and human development.
And, I am hopeful that you will reflect on your own gifts.
I’m grateful that you are in this world, sharing in this moment with me.
What is a better gift than that?
Thanks for reading!
Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/In the Facebook group/in NPC…
Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!
What’s up on the podcast this week:
A Q&A from the Ninja Parenting Community!
We talk about dealing with tantrums, night terrors, disrespect, and whether three and four-year-olds should play soccer. Click the link below to listen:
What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:
A quick hack from each of the 7 parenting resources discussed at the tippy top of this newsletter… In a Facebook live I did about NPC Cyber Monday and a description of those 7 resources.
Click here to check it out!
What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community:
Answering the question: “When your child is doing something that needs to be stopped, how do you stop it without acknowledging it?” (In other words, how do you ignore bad behavior?)
(If you’re not a member yet, but want to become one, click here.)
PS – If you’re enjoying this Weekly Parenting Newsletter, click here so you can sign up to receive it in your inbox, or forward it to a friend who needs a parenting boost today.