Remember the old Janet Jackson song “Control” from 1986? She wrote it in an effort to state her independence from her family. I loved the 80’s, so I am not ashamed to say I know the words to the song. For some reason, this is the verse that came to mind:

“Got my own mind

I wanna make my own decisions

When it has to do with my life, my life

I wanna be the one in control”

I am a very independent person and those who know me well know that I have always done pretty much what I wanted, when I wanted. Okay, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but that’s a topic for another time. As I was thinking about the song, it dawned on me that I’m not in control anymore. Well, in the practical sense I am. I decide schedules in my house and meals and such. We have two little ones racing through here and a lot of what we do revolves around them. But the real controller on most days is Juliana. She has things going on in her that she cannot verbalize and sometimes these things come out in their own fashion and usually at the wrong time—the grocery store, family functions, restaurants, etc. I used to get so frustrated and sometimes I still do, but it’s a quieter frustration.

Somewhere along the way, things got better when I started to realize that I can’t control Juliana. I think all of us want some sense of control and our special ones (and toddlers) show us how little control we have. I have eased into a solution that gradually came about. Instead of trying to control her, I control what I can. Much of that has come in the form of projects.

Silly as it may be, I usually have something extra going on. Yes, I have more than enough to keep me busy. But this busy is the stuff that I want to do that brings me a sense of accomplishment; to show that I still have my own mind. Today, my husband said to me that maybe I try to do too much. I explained to him that when he sees me running around doing those extra things, that’s the fun stuff. Those projects that have absolutely nothing to do with my girls or managing Angelman Syndrome give me a better sense of being and make me feel normal. I’m happy for them.

When you become a parent and more specifically a special needs parent you lose a lot of control. But it doesn’t have to be over everything. Today, what project or extra thing will you take part in to give you a little sense of control for yourself? Try something. I can guarantee you won’t be sorry.

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