Here’s the thing…my dad likes to tell me about how my sister tells him that I was this extraordinary mom when Olivia was a baby. Like I went through something amazing that other people wouldn’t have been able to do.
Except, no. That’s not true. Anyone else would have done exactly what Tom and I did when Olivia was a baby. You get through it by living every single day. You wake up, you soothe your screaming baby, you feed your four year old, you soothe the baby again, you feed the four year old again, you try and make the baby nap, you give up on the nap and you feed the four year old yet again.
And you just keep doing that until you don’t have to anymore.
Then you start doing something else.
Each stage of parenting is hard but they’re all a different kind of hard. The infant stage was REALLY hard for me, if only because of the sleep deprivation. And, well, babies are boring. Sure, they’re cute but they’re also boring. Way boring. Just saying.
The toddler stage of parenting has its stressors, what with potty training and weaning and learning to talk and tantrums and ugh, I’m so glad we’re past all that.
But we got through it, special needs and all, because that’s what people do.
We get up every single day, we figure it out and we’re grateful at the end of the day when we’re all together and still breathing.
So when my dad talks about how amazing I am for mothering my children, I kind of want to smack him. I get that he’s trying to give me a compliment. I do get that. And I never actually slap him or even snap at him that duh, I’m their mother, OF COURSE I’m going to mother them. I guess I wish he’d stop making me out to be a saint or a martyr.
I’m neither of those things. I’m a wife and a mom. I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m a friend (though sometimes, not a very good one.) I try to do right by everyone in my life but I fail miserably sometimes. And when that happens, I apologize, try to move forward and do better next time.
I apologize to my girls every single day for lapses in my mothering. They’re kind kids, they forgive me. And I forgive them when they make me crazy in Walmart. (What is it about Walmart? That place makes me insane with rage.)
It’s what we do because we’re human and we love and we live and we’re grateful for reminders to not shake the screaming baby.
To my dad and my sister (neither of whom read here, I’m pretty sure but still…) thank you both for thinking so highly of me. But I promise you, if you’d been given a child with special needs, you both would have handled it just fine. It’s just what you do.
I do not look at Olivia and see special needs. I look at her and see my child, my daughter. One of my greatest loves. I see beauty and grace and adoration. I see strength and intelligence and perseverance. I see my baby, the one who cried and cried and cried and then, one day, she stopped crying and she started laughing and today, there is so much more laughter than tears and that makes those early months so worth it.
I told everyone during those first few screamy months that it would get better.
And guess what? It did. It got so, SO much better.