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What 'Frozen 2' Can Teach Us About Parenting a Child With a Disability

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I recently saw the Disney movie “Frozen 2” with my daughter. She is a lover of all Disney movies, and this one was no different. Without spoiling the movie for you, at one point, Anna, the younger sister, is inside a cave and she thinks she is all alone, with no guidance and with no way out in sight. Anna sings these words:

I’ve seen dark before, but not like this

This is cold, this is empty, this is numb

The life I knew is over, the lights are out

This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

You are lost, hope is gone

But you must go on

And do the next right thing.” 

Most people in the theater were taking these words in the context of the movie — but not me. I was on the verge of tears thinking of parents of children with disabilities. Me. Maybe you.

These words hold so much weight in my heart because in my experience they are so compelling, so true. When we arrive in this world of parenting we never thought we’d encounter, it can feel like we are in the middle of a dark cave with no way out. We may feel the weight of grief that comes without warning, and feel numb. We may not see even the tiniest beacon of light — but without even realizing it, a little voice inside us tells us to get up and keep moving forward. We take one step in front of the other and start on this newfound journey. We hope and pray the decisions we make for our child will help them to accomplish new things, but we aren’t sure. Even though we are not sure, we must keep on keeping on and do the next thing we know to be right. Right for ourselves, our child and our family.

We start to trust our new instincts we didn’t even know we had. Because our hearts are forever changed in these “cave” moments, we have no choice but to allow ourselves to fail and get back up again, with our child leading the way. My prayer for you today is that if you find yourself in the cave, you will have the strength and energy to do the next right thing. And you will know in your heart, no matter how much you question whether it is “right” or not, that you will take the step forward anyway, and trust yourself.

If you have been in this cave in the past, and you have found your way to the light, my prayer for you today is that you will continue to have the capacity to sustain your current level of strength and guide others who are in the cave to the light. Please know that even though you may have found your way out of the darkness on this amazing journey, you may find yourself circling back to a cave again. The caves may look different on the inside, and they may take you by surprise, but have faith in knowing there will be light to follow each and every time. This journey has many twists and turns, and we may end up in dark places more often than not, but I believe we must trust ourselves and have the courage to guide others to do the next right thing.

Image via YouTube.

Originally published: February 19, 2020
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