This week JJ (youngest son) surprised me with a question:

“Can we go trick or treating?”
“It’s ages away until trick or treating time, I responded.
“Well when it is, can we go trick or treating?” I hesitated in consideration.
“I want to dress up as a ghost.”
“Oh, ok, I said, trying to sound interested.
“I could go with Daddy and SD and we could be the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.”

I laughed so hard that SD (eldest son) too became infected and we both giggled uncontrollably.

This conversation sums up JJ perfectly. He mulls over information then applies it to life. He’s a geek, like his Dad, and interested in wildlife, space and history. In his bedroom the planets of our solar system hang suspended in the air and at night, when the lights are out, clusters of stars illuminate the ceiling.

Before JJ, our family’s own solar system simply contained the planets of me, husband and SD.

In a couple of weeks we will celebrate the arrival of JJ’s bright, energetic and chaotic planet, which before long filled our home with imagination, originality and creativity. He enlivens our family with flair, humour and joy. There is so much to celebrate when we take time to be thankful for him.

IMG_1859In our family’s solar system each of us are planets orbiting a sun, following our own paths like a carefully co-ordinated dance; interdependent, influenced by and reliant upon each other. I suspect most people have something in their solar system that can distort their view, draining too much energy or time. In the past I have found it too easy to slip into an orbit that solely revolves around special needs. There have been occasions when the moon of disability that revolves around SD’s planet has dominated our family life, distorting our trajectories with its dramatic gravitational pull. Occasionally, it has felt as though everything is sucked into its grasp, becoming warped by its power and hold. But this moon is neither my son’s planet, nor our family’s focus.

I used to think the most important factor when making decisions about SD’s care or education was what was best for SD, but that is no longer my gauge.

Today we try to make decisions in relation to what is best for us as a family.

Considering what keeps our whole planetary system in order, not just the large disability moon, or even SD’s world. We ask questions like, How much of an impact will this have on everyone,’ or, Should the needs of others in the family take priority at this time?’

I haven’t always found it easy to know how to balance my time and energy as a mum and there have been times when J has missed out at the expense of SD’s care. It is easy to allow the large disability moon to dominate, permitting it to become the sun around which our planets circle. We, however, made a very clear decision not to let SD or his disability become our sole focus. SD gets a disproportionate amount of time, care and attention, and that is unavoidable, but we make every effort to ensure that each member of our family is held with prominence and value.

Choosing your sun is an important activity.

Life can creep up on you and when you look around, the sun you are orbiting isn’t at all what you had expected or intended. It is important to ensure the force that is determining your path is a source of energy and light you want reflected in your life.

A couple of years ago we changed tack and rather than simply responding to the crises life threw at us, we began trying to make intentional decisions that felt like choices not reactions.

We took time to define the sun we wanted to orbit, ensuring our focus and paths were being determined by the values we hold most dear.

For everyone that sun will be different. In the core of our sun we hold the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, wanting our lives to reflect God as we love each other, living alongside the other solar systems in our galaxy.


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The Skies I'm Under