I have three children. All that are very different. All that have significant (and different) needs. My middle daughter is easiest to see. She has Down Syndrome. It’s clear looking at her that she has a disability, but she wears it beautifully.
However, a lot of people expect that me, or my husband, as a parent must be special because we have a child with a significant developmental delay. I can’t speak for my husband. I’m not him. We are just as different as my kids are. After all, we are all unique individuals.
I cannot tell you how many times in life I have heard “God only gives children like her to special people. You are amazing.”
I disagree. Wholeheartedly. I’m not getting into my flaws, why they’re there, or even the fact that I am flawed. But it’s the simple fact that my child. With her disability was given to me to teach me. I fully believe that was the intent of her creation. The 1/420 odds of having a child with Down Syndrome. I think I was chosen because I needed to learn.
I’m not patient. I will dive into things with every ounce of my being when I am passionate about something. I write. Therefore I have about 50 unfinished stories that I started, but never went back to as I lost the passion in it. She, however, will sit at the kitchen table with her Kindle the entire time that we are cooking dinner. She knows the result. She knows that one of her favorite foods (ideally a starch) will be on her red plate (not the blue one!). In mornings when I’m rushing out the door getting my girls out to school and daycare I have to pause to watch her slowly and methodically slip on her jacket and shoes. And I remember the days she couldn’t do that.
And I don’t need to be that perfect parent to be a successful parent. You won’t see photos of me beaming as we frosted cupcakes, or cheering in the audience at a dance recital. I apologize to my children right now if that’s what they want in me as a mother.
However, I can tell you I love them endlessly. I will be the parent that tells them I love them. I will steal a hug in every day. Because I wasn’t chosen to be their parents because I was extra special. I was blessed to have been given these children. They are the special ones.
I watch my son growing taller than me every day. I smile when I see him mentoring another child, or playing basketball at the Y. I paused in disbelief watching this young man through the window and wondered when the heck did he change from a little boy who only wore Disney Pixar Cars tshirts to this young man who reeks of Old Spice body spray in his giant shoes only a size smaller than his dad’s. Or my youngest, who used to be attached to my hip suddenly turn into this budding Van Gogh spending hours upon hours drawing and coloring.
Thankfully, that middle daughter of mine takes her time. She still only uses the words of a toddler, but she has the mental ability to understand conversation. I like to believe that she’s just annoyed with small talk in life and is saving her words for only the important things. After all, the other day she told me she loved me and made sure that “Mom, hug Lotso” was followed.
I might not be a perfect mom. I’m not in the PTO, my kids aren’t in Scouts anymore, I could care less if they have clothes that match on, but I am a good mom. And that is enough for me. Well, at least for now. Thank you, to my beautiful child with the extra chromosome. I needed that reminder.