Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Am That Mom...

You know the one…the one you might have said you’d never be.  I know I said it a million times in my “old life”.  Maybe I’m the one you looked at in disgust yesterday or shook your head at or pitied last week.
…the one who is carrying around the child with no socks and no hat in the twenty degree weather
…the one who’s kid doesn’t seem to follow the traditional course
…the one who wears yoga pants out in public ALL.DAY.LONG.
…the one who may or may not have washed her hair this morning
…the one who sent her kids to school on a breakfast of pop tarts and oranges
…the one who used to be perpetually early for everything, but now is late to every single appointment
…the one who forgets lunches and special school dress up days
…the one who has never taken her family on a real vacation
I was pretty sure I was going to be the mom who was always put together, whose children were always dressed perfectly and sent off to school with bellies full of a delicious, nutritious, hot breakfast.  I was pretty sure I would serve on the PTO and volunteer in the classroom, accompanying my children on every field trip and spend hours at night discussing the day’s events. 
What happened?
Life happened. 
I have a hard time convincing myself most days that I’m not a total failure.  Balance is really, really hard, but for moms of kiddos with special needs, I think it is compounded.  There are doctors, specialists, therapists, behavioral issues, medications, and then the modifications you need to make to general life to accommodate kids from hard places.  I’m not complaining and before people jump down my throat and feel the need to remind me that I chose this life, shut it – I know full well I chose it and I don’t regret it for a second. 
You see, for all the things that I may not be as a mom, I am so much more as a woman and as a human being because of my children and what they have taught me to be.  This past six years I have  totally transformed from the person I was into the person I am right now and the person that I am continuing to grow into.  I truly owe them my life! 
That child with no socks and no hat – she’s my daughter who has severe brain damage.  She’s not supposed to alive.  She’s not supposed to be able to interact or move her limbs, or make sounds.  She’s not supposed to be able to eat or drink, much less have an opinion about anything.  I’ll tell you something – girl’s got some serious opinions; about a lot things!  For one, she hates socks and she hates anything on her head.  When I put them on her – she immediately takes them off.  That’s a pretty huge accomplishment for her and we celebrate it!  If I put them back on it also sends her into a rage and frankly, trying to carry a 35lb head-banging, biting, giant noodle and getting her strapped into a carseat or wheelchair for the 5 seconds she’ll be outside isn’t worth the tantrum so sometimes she wins the battle.
The kid who some think is a little off-course – he’s my oldest son and he is amazing!  I’ve never met another human being like him.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who can fully explain him or the way his brain works.  As he grows, he seems to be more in touch with how it works, though.  I don’t know that anyone will ever know or be able to understand the amount of damage that he suffered, but for him to have overcome and to be where he is today is truly a miracle.  He struggles – A LOT!  He frustrates me, yes.  He also intrigues me and he makes me laugh and he makes my heart soar.  I just can’t wait to see what he’s going to do.
The yoga pants – they were cleanish and I found them, and my butt’s not hanging out – enough said.
My kids eat pop tarts and dammit – they LOVE ‘em!!
I’m late – AGAIN – I’m sorry I messed up your schedule.  But, before you get upset, you should know that I might’ve been dealing with a major poopsplosion in a parking lot somewhere; perhaps my kid had a seizure or threw up, or pulled out her G-tube.  I might’ve been on email desperately trying to match up an orphan with a family; I might’ve been dropping off a hot cup of coffee to a homeless person as a random act of kindness; I might’ve been ordering flowers for a friend who lost her baby; so cut me some slack.  I’m a good person trying to do some good things, trying to make this world a better place because my heart has been stretched to the limit.
The thing is, I try so hard every day and I’m pretty sure my kids see it.  When I fail I let them know and I say I’m sorry.  It seems to be rubbing off.  They are learning grace.  They are learning it’s okay to be imperfect.  They are learning that the world is not always a fair place and that it’s more important to help others than to have things.  They are learning that people matter – isn’t that what it’s all about?  I still have a long ways to go – I am my own biggest critic.  I am hard on myself, always have been.  This next year I really want to take a step back and slow down. 
I am that mom….
…the one who loves her family fiercely
…the one who will protect her kids and fight for them with total disregard for your rules
…the one who is at peace with the fact that others have chosen to walk away rather than accept us
…the one who has been around the world, who has seen true need and true suffering, who has held children that will die alone and who has allowed herself to be changed by it
…the one who has watched her own children suffer unimaginable emotional and physical pain
...the one who will never take a single second for granted


Jessi said...

This is so amazing, Shannon. I understand only a small part of your journey (and I'm almost always in yoga pants, maybe or maybe not having showered, and late). You are loving and giving your life for these little ones. It's pretty spectacular, if you ask me.

Betsy said...

Wonderful post- I admire your courage in being so honest and real about what life is really like! Hooray for someone who doesn't pretend like their life looks like Pinterest! And to any of your critics - they can shut their pie holes because without you, those incredible children would not have a mom. You are amazing!

Michelle said...

Girl...I am that mom and my mom duties are not even half as intense as your advanced parenting! I don't even have yoga pants I just wear scrubs 24-7! You rock and your family is beautiful.