Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Being Chelsea's Mom

I am the mother of a child with special needs, and this is true now and will be true when our future son becomes our son.  It was not a role I coveted or a role I wanted.  It was not a role I expected, nor was it a role that I felt called or prepared to do.  In fact, had you asked me just a few years ago, I probably would have told you that I could "never" parent a child with special needs.  And I would have meant it wholeheartedly.

I also believed that I could never survive the death of two children.  Somehow, I did.  When I tell people that part of our story, invariably some react with, "Oh God...I could never have stood that.  I would have climbed into their coffin and died too."

My answer is usually, "You wouldn't have.  You think you would have, but you probably wouldn't have."

What we think we can handle and what we actually can handle are almost always two different things.  Human beings, by creation, are somewhat flexible in what they can handle and what they can do.  This is sometimes a bad thing.  Ever watch that show HOARDERS or other shows like it?  You see people living in shocking conditions and if you are anything like me, you think:  Oh, how can they live this way? I could never live this way.

The truth, however, is that you probably could.  Incrementally, over time, you could become used to the chaos and challenge of your environment and it would become your "new normal".  Of course, this is a sad example of resilency.

Better examples of resilency are found elsewhere.  When we are resilent, we are strong.  I am strong (resilent) because my sons died and I did not die with them.  I am strong (resilent) because I can separate my emotions and look at my daughter clinically.  I can see her amazing gifts and also identify her challenges, even when I don't like to see them. 

My daughter's behavioral and learning challenges are new frontiers for me.  There is no history in my family of learning disabilities, so I am in uncharted territory.  Because of this, theoretical concepts are a reality for me.  I understand educational plans, and therapies.  It is part of my life.  It is part of being Chelsea's mother.

Chelsea is a special gift. 

She is the reason we know, without a doubt, that we can parent her future brother.  There was no way to know when she was born, five weeks early and rushed to the NICU, that she would be the child that she is.  But she is who she is; and her existence has taught us that we are resilent, we are strong, and we are capable. 

In just a few days she will turn three years old.  Today we said goodbye to her dedicated team of therapists and we will say "hello" to her new therapists.  Before she turns four, she will have a brother from Bulgaria, and his life will also have therapists and educational plans.  We will have her to thank for the experience we have to parent her brother.  And because of Chelsea's older brothers - because of Jacob and Zachary - we learned that we were far more capable than we ever believed.  When Chelsea began to show signs of delay, we could muster that strength to help her. 

I don't know why, but God wouldn't have it any other way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kind comments are welcomed. Poorly researched, ill-informed, horrifically biased comments are exploded. :)