Archives for October 2009

A Fine Line

Parenting is a delicate process. There are so many conflicting statements and opinions. So much information. There are doctors, other mothers, newspapers, magazines, the Internet–it seems like everywhere you turn there’s someone else talking about the best way to do something.

When you’re parenting a special needs child, there are even more voices. There’s a legion of therapists, more doctors, and a many, many well-meaning people who saw this thing on Oprah, heard about this supplement, or know a child who completely recovered after blah, blah, blah.

There’s a second, more insidious message in all this well-meaning advice, however. In a way, these messages tell us that our children aren’t good enough just the way they are. The miracle of their being is insufficient. We need to fix them, alter them, make them more acceptable to the world at large.

This is OK. I understand that the world at large might not be able to understand the joys of a disabled child. I’ve been on the other side of the looking glass and I’ve pitied my future self. I’ve felt sorry for women as they pushed children through the mall in a wheelchair. I’ve wondered how they could appear so optimistic, so upbeat.

It’s fine that the world wants to fix my child. It wants to make him as close to “normal” as is possible. In many ways, I want this myself. I want the world to see his value and worth and I know that this will be easier if he can talk and walk and eat with a knife and fork. I shoot for the big goals, the ones that often seem impossible. I dream big for my child because he deserves big–he deserves my optimism and deserves to have his light seen.

But I also have to be careful. I have to remind myself not to take it too far. Because in this moment, just the way he is, he is beautiful. He’s not a jalopy that needs tune up. He’s my child. He doesn’t have to earn my love or affection. He has it. All of these things are for the outside world–not for me. I have to be sure that in the whirlwind of therapy, lessons, and supplements that this message is heard: I love you just the way you are.

Taking Care of Mama

My life pretty much revolves around my family these days. There’s appointments, laundry, dishes, sometimes meals, more laundry, boring errands and a bunch of other things that just sort of become your responsibility when you stop having a regular job. So I think it’s more than fair to occasionally take a little time for myself. So, I’ve been “taking care of myself.” This is a nice phrase, but execution is a little murky. My Chick-fil-a addiction is pretty fierce, so I’m not going to mess with that just yet. I haven’t bought any more alcohol. That’s not quite the same as giving up drinking, but it effectively cuts my drinking down to almost none. I also told my husband to stop buying ice cream. This one hurts a little, but I’m getting used to it. The proliferation of Halloween candy has helped.

I also decided to exercise and so far I’ve had what I would generously call mixed results. I started out with little ten minute workouts and finally decide to upgrade to a DVD I used to do pretty regularly. Well, I must have been in better shape back then because twenty minutes in I was panting and tripping and sweating. I may not have mentioned this before, but I don’t sweat. If moisture is gathering on my upper brow then that’s a sure sign of impeding doom. My husband was shocked. And did I mention the tripping? There’s something so undignified about tripping over your own two feet.

But I’ve kept at it. I did the video a few more times and now I can actually finish all thirty minutes. I’d like to work in some yoga in too. I did a ten minute routine and it’s pretty cool. I’m going to look for a DVD with longer routine. I don’t really have a still personality, so it’s a stretch for me–but in a good way. I’d also like to do a little running. Not a lot of running–that’s not my style. I have absolutely no desire to run a marathon on a triathlon. None. I do think it would be good if I could run a mile or two without dying though. You know, in case there’s an alien invasion or something.

I’m not in danger of becoming Miss Fitness America, but it’s something.

Good Things

In no particular order, things that make me smile:

  1. Pirate Pete–a fifteen dollar piece of plastic that is currently haunting our garden. I just love him.
  2. Charlie’s first “drawing.”
  3. Bannana nut bread.
  4. This post where Connor’s mom talks about making her house handicap accessible AND stylish. My kind of woman.
  5. Cool weather (FINALLY).
  6. Continued success at Story Time at the library. He’s pretty much keeping his eyes open, but now he whines when they turn off the Raffi music–I think it’s an improvement although the librarian may disagree.
  7. Going tailgating at LSU yesterday and running into another special needs mommy that I know in real life. Watch out for the Holland Mafia–we’re everywhere!
  8. The Lady in White in the mail from Netflix. This was the scary movie when I was a kid and I’m planning on turning off all the lights and scaring myself to death. Perfect for this time of year.
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