- Posted September 20, 2013 by
INNERview: A Specially Wrapped Gift
INNERview with Shemeka Cherry Jackson on HAVE YA HEARD
Shemeka Cherry Jackson is the Founder of Specially Wrapped Gifts Ministry, an outreach of encouragement, support, and resources for families caring for individuals with Special Needs and/or disabilities. She is a gifted speaker, trainer, and writer and has worked in various facets of Christian ministry and Social Service. She is a US Navy Veteran and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Shemeka currently resides in Knoxville, TN, and considers being a wife to Bruce and raising their two beautiful daughters as her highest calling.
YVONNE PIERRE: When was your daughter Candace diagnosed with Down syndrome, how familiar were you with DS and what was your initial reaction?
SHEMEKA CHERRY JACKSON: Candace was diagnosed after birth. During the time, I didn’t really know a lot about Ds; I could recognize a person with the physical characteristics. That was the extent of my knowledge. Initially, I felt overwhelmed, happy, sad and afraid. My emotions needed to catch up with my intellect. I did not see Down syndrome. I saw a beautiful baby girl. In my head, I knew that she was a blessing, however, my emotions were all over the place.
YVONNE: What has been your greatest challenge?
SHEMEKA: The greatest challenge for me is adjusting to my “new normal.” Not only am I a mother to a child with special needs, but I am also her advocate. I have come to terms that my life is not like everyone else’s, so I’m learning to cut myself some slack. For me, career- ambitions were big things. Now, I believe it’s better for me to be home and present with everything that goes on in our world. In short, grieving the loss of where I think I should be, living in the reality of where I am, while finding joy and contentment in it is a constant struggle.
YVONNE: As a mom, share with us one of your proudest moments?
SHEMEKA: One of my proudest moments was watching Candace perform in her school’s Christmas program. I was grinning from ear to ear; she remembered the moves and at the end, even took a bow. She was proud of herself and I was proud of her as well.
YVONNE: How has Candace changed your perspective of life?
SHEMEKA: I’m not as judgmental as I used to be. The relationships that I have are more sincere and authentic. I can identify with other peoples hurt and can be happy when others are happy. I am sensitive to things that I would have overlooked because it did not pertain to me. I realize the frailty of our lives and now recognize that each and every moment lived is a gift. Life is too short, so I make mine count.
Read this INNERview in it's entirety at http://hyhonline.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/a-specially-wrapped-gift