Friday, January 8, 2010

There's a Lesson Here

When Hayden was younger, I dreaded baby well checks. In each visit, they always found something wrong. As a new mom, it was nerve racking. The last thing you want to hear is that your baby has a problem.

Taking things for granted

There are so many little things our children do that we take for granted. And if you stop and think about it, they are really miraculous achievements. It's only when, they don't do something that you suddenly appreciate how complicated and difficult it really is. Learning to sit, crawl, eat, walk, and talk. They are all feats of wonder that we should look on with awe.

It's more than just talking

We are all excited to hear that much anticipated "Mommy" or "Daddy", to finally be able to communicate and teach our little ones about our world - but when it doesn't happen - you are led down this Alice and Wonderland world of communication. The word "talking" just doesn't cover it. Receptive language, expressive language, articulation, fluency - the list goes on. From there you go into hearing tests, surgeries, evaluations, and therapy. You learn about programs, therapists, and classes. Techniques, strategies, and sign language. A new world opens up to you.

Shame and guilt

Every parent carries the burden for the life of their child. When something happens, the first question you might ask yourself is "What did I do wrong?" Did I not read to them enough? Or maybe I didn't label items enough? I'm an introvert - maybe that's what's wrong, I don't talk enough? Maybe they didn't get enough vegetables? Or perhaps I shouldn't have said yes to that vaccine? Suddenly, you're questioning every parenting decision you've ever made, looking for the cause.

Losing the bragging game

There's an unspoken game that parents play with each other where we list the achievements and proud parent moments to all who will listen. It's a natural overflow of your delight in your own children, you want everyone to know how special and amazing they are. And we all do it in some form or another. Yet, it seems when you have a child with a disability or some other delay - you slowly learn to step down from this "game". Not because your child isn't amazing and wonderful, but because you now see the other side of this game. How this "measures" them in what they can or can't do and sets up false expectations and disappointments unfairly for them. I know there are many things that at one time or another my children couldn't do, but that doesn't make them any less in my eyes.

Walking with experience

Walking this road once before with Hayden, has prepared me for the battle ahead. Corbin's 18 month well check resulted in what I had expected - a referral for a speech evaluation. Corbin still has no words, and prefers pointing and limited baby sign language as his method of communication. Yet, instead of the fear, disappointment, and confusion I faced the first time around, I meet this with acceptance, peace, and understanding.


Our children and the challenges we've faced so far with them have made us better parents. They've made me cherish every word and achievement, see them for the amazing wonders they are, and have developed peace and patience in me. I wouldn't be the person and mother I am if we hadn't had these struggles. With each new battle I face I now pose the question: What's the lesson here?

What lessons have you learned from either your own struggles or those of your children? How has that helped you today?

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