Tag Archives: lucky

Why I Feel The Luck Of The Irish Today

17 Mar

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s day, Irishmen, luck, and all that, I thought I’d write a few reasons why I think I’m so lucky to be a special needs parent. Now, before you throw up a little from my extreme sappiness and begin thinking that I am THAT mom (you know, the one who tells you everything in life is great, chocolate and strawberry milkshakes, cotton candy, and unicorns). Just know that I didn’t always feel this way. If you’ve read most of my blog you already know this about me. (And if you haven’t read it, please do. If you want to. I’m saying that in my mom tone.) And also know that I don’t feel lucky every single day. Some days are really rough, but who doesn’t have those days? Special needs child or not. My rough days might just involve more Q-Tips, poop, and dinners gone wrong. I just try to remember to be grateful every day because if I forget that…it’s a very dangerous place for me to be in (Eventually I’ll get to that part in my story. Stay tuned. It’s a good story!)

I felt soooo sorry for myself for such a looooong time.

Why did this happen to me? I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t expect to have to have this kind of responsibility in my life. I didn’t want to drag my child to hundreds of doctor appointments, therapy appointments, put her through surgeries, conformer appointments, evaluations, and watch people as they judge her, make fun of her, or feel sorry for her. I also didn’t want people to judge me, question the decisions I made for her, or feel sorry for me.I didn’t want to have to watch my child struggle. I didn’t want to constantly wonder what she was thinking. Wonder if she was really happy. Wonder what she wanted and what her dreams were. I never wanted to feel like no matter what I did, that it wasn’t enough because I just couldn’t fix it for her. I couldn’t make people understand her or love her or treat her with compassion. I couldn’t stop the stares or the questions. And I couldn’t really know how much of it she understood.

I didn’t ask for any of it.

But, you know what?

Neither did Oli.

Neither did she.

So, eventually I got my head out of my ass and stopped being the person that I hated. The one who felt sorry for her and felt sorry for me.

Which now brings me to the reasons that I feel lucky to be her mom. After that very long winded introduction.

1. First off, I feel lucky to be anybodies mom. Seriously. To be in charge of little people who are so interesting and funny, strange and bizarre, naughty and annoying, but who are ALWAYS loving and amazing. It’s so crazy and I cannot believe that it is possible to love anyone as much as I love my children.

2. The people that I have met because of Oli are some of the most influential people in my life. Other moms who share their journey with me and continue to awe and inspire me every single day. They are some of the most courageous, generous, selfless, positive people that I have ever met. Therapists, doctors, outreach coordinators, teachers, parent support coordinators, ocularists….the list goes on. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. Without any of them, I couldn’t do any of what I do. I need support and sometimes I just need someone to listen. Because of Oli I have all of that.

3. I feel lucky that because of Oli I have something to write about. Bad reason, I know. But, it’s true. Because of her I get to tell our story. I get to reach out and maybe let someone else, whose been where I’ve been, know that it’s okay. They’re not alone. It’s really crappy at first. And it’s hard and it’s sad, but it gets better. It gets so much better. Even if it gets harder because our kids get older, it still gets better.

4. On that note, I feel lucky that I get to share my story with so many people who don’t have a special needs child. Because maybe they’ll read my story and gain a little bit of understanding and perspective. Maybe they’ll read my story and the next time they see a child in public who looks a little different or who is having a meltdown, flapping, shaking, humming or yelling, they’ll think of my Oli. And then they’ll remember what I have said about my journey. How hard it really is sometimes and that all we want is a little bit of compassion. Maybe they will try not to look at the parents with pity or not judge them because they can’t control their kids. Maybe I’ve reached someone out there and it will make a difference in someone else’s life.

5. Most of all I feel lucky to be her mom because…well, because she is just my Oli. If you’ve met her you know what I mean. She feels everything with a fierce emotion that is so rare. I’m glad to be a part of that. I get to see her face challenges head on and never back down. Rarely does she show fear. She trusts me so much that sometimes it scares me. She loves me so much that sometimes it takes my breath away. And she is so brave, strong, funny, curious, and stubborn that sometimes I just look at her in amazement. How can such a big, sweet, phenomenal personality fit into such a tiny little girl. She reminds me every single day what my purpose is in life and allows me to share this bumpy road with her. She forgives me when I mess up, she forgives me when I have to do something unpleasant to her, she forgives me when I allow doctors to do things that are unpleasant, she ALWAYS forgives me. She always just continues to love me. She might be mad for a little while, but then she will wrap her little arms around my neck, pat me on the back, and whisper “Mom-Mom” in my ear. It’s like she’s saying, “I know it’s not your fault Mommy. I know you didn’t ask for this either. I know that you are just trying to do what’s right and are doing what you think is best for me. I love you and I love that you walk BESIDE me and not IN FRONT of me. And I’m really glad that you don’t feel sorry for us anymore.”

And those are the reasons that I’m so lucky to be Oli’s mom.

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Can You See Me? I’m Here In The Darkness. (Part 4)

24 Feb

I spent the last two days attending the Blind Cafe and then the 2013 TX Deaf-Blind Symposium. Because of these two events my perception of Oli and some preconceived notions of her abilities/disabilities have completely been swung around and turned on their heads.

Where I have focused a lot of my time on what she cannot do because of or what she will not do because of .I am now seeing exactly what she is capable of and what is possible if I give her the chance. Although I really felt like I had given her lots of opportunities to explore the world and chances to communicate, after talking with blind adults and listening to experts in the field, now I feel like. . . Holy shit! I still have been regarding her learning opportunities in terms of what I see as limitations because of her disabilities.

While I was sitting in the darkness at the cafe a striking realization came to me when the wait staff started answering questions. I hate to say that when I first see a person with a disability, I see a disability. I’m not supposed to see that right? Because my daughter has a disability? But I still do. I don’t like that about me and I really try not to. I realized that one of the things that was so wonderful about listening to the blind adults speak in the cafe was. . . I didn’t see a disability. I couldn’t! And it was great. All I heard were intelligent, funny, nice people speaking. And then I started thinking about what an advantage they have over all of the rest of us. They honestly get to know people in a fast, genuine, real way bypassing all of the visual judgemental nonsense that sighted people have.

Always aspiring to be one of those “good” people who doesn’t judge people by what they look like, what they’re wearing, or how clean they are (although I’ll bet blind people notice that one even quicker than me) I suddenly started thinking of Oli as. . .lucky. I stopped viewing blindness as something I would never want for her and although I still wish she wasn’t, I started looking at all of the good things about blindness. Like seeing people by way of her heart and judging them by the truth in their words and the honesty in their voices.

I had a moment when I was sitting in the dark, listening to the band play, that I was overcome by sadness. Silent tears poured down my face as I sat there thinking about how hard it was. Walking around not knowing where I was going, trying to find my food and not knowing what I was eating because nobody told me. Tasting food that I HATE and not knowing if I had a drink. Wanting to wipe off my hands and not being able to find my napkin. I felt helpless. I felt alone.

But as I sat there crying quietly so no one would know, I started to recognize that feeling. I remember spending a lot of my time feeling that exact same way in the first years of Oli’s life. Lost and alone, crying silently in the dark. I welcomed that feeling like an old friend and greeted her with open arms without even realizing who she is. Who she really is… is my own self pity. My own fear, ignorance, and judgement.

I opened my eyes, dried my tears and sat up straight in my chair.

NO! No more!

I will not allow this twisted friendship to continue! I will not welcome you into my heart! I will not pretend anymore that you will stay for a short visit and then let you live on my couch for years!

You Miss. . . are no longer allowed in my front door.

I am not helpless, weak, alone, unheard, unloved, or in this by myself. More importantly, this is not about me.

This is about Oli and she is none of those things either.

(Thank you for reading about my experience at the Blind Café! If you want to know more about it or want to know if it will be coming to a city near you go to www.theblindcafe.com The End.)

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