Although the pain fades, it never goes away. I will never forget the fear I had, the moment I realized something was different with Bridget. Having to take her to the ER on her fourth day of life and bargaining for her life. I just wanted her to live.
Now “I just want her to be normal”
Yup, I said it. I was preparing for Bridget’s annual IEP meeting and one of her teachers asked me what I wanted. I told my truth: I want her to be normal.
I want Bridget to have a normal kindergarten experience. I want her to be an active part of the kindergarten community. I do not want (and yes, these words left my mouth) her to be the crazy aunt in the attic that is only brought down for the family photo.
I want her to be able to go to trick or treating with her sister, instead of leaving her behind because I cannot handle the stress of bringing her. (We are doing an alternative for her)
I want her to be invited to a birthday party and not wonder if I should contact the mom and make sure they are aware Bridget is not the typical classmate.
I want to have friends of a similar age over and not wonder to myself: this is what having typical siblings would be for her sister.
I want the first day of school to be just that, and not the start of the IEP process.
I want to take a day off for me and not because I have to take her to a doctor or therapy appointment.
I want to go to a party and not have her described (by a well-intentioned friend) that she is “our special princess”.
I want her to tell me how her day at school was instead of telling me pancakes and meatballs.
I want her to be able to tell me what she is upset about instead of tearing her hair out of frustration because she doesn’t have the language.
I want her to give me teenage angst, get her driver’s license, go to college, get married and have a normal life.
I want to just come to terms that she, the way she is today, is her normal. I need to find ways to stop falling into this trap.
In a thousand years, I hope she forgives me for these thoughts.
That is how I finished the sentence this Friday that started with: In A Thousand Years
Brought to you by the lovely bloggers at:
Kristi — Finding Ninee
Dana — Kiss My List
Lizzi — Considerings
Oh Kerri, I so get this. And I don’t want to presume that I know all or shower you with platitudes, but I can promise you that these feeling will diminish. They will never go away, never, but this – “I want to just come to terms that she, the way she is today, is her normal. I need to find ways to stop falling into this trap.” – that will become stronger, and over-shadow the other wants. I can’t tell you when it will happen, but it will. I didn’t think It ever would for me, but I’m in a good place – ah, most of the time:). But remember, Barrett is about to be 15 (oh my God!),. It’s be a long, crazy and convoluted ride.
I used to HATE trick-or-treating with Barrett. He would always, always, just walk right into people’s houses. Use their restroom, check out their pantry, it was awful. Last year I took him and he was so big, it was kind of weird. And the other kids kept ditching us (not on purpose, but out of excitement). I was so happy when it rained:) and we had to go home. This year Hunter isn’t going and said he’d hang with B. I thought I’d be relieved, but now I’m sad. It’s over:(.
Thanks, Allie it helps to hear from someone a few steps ahead of me in the process!
So I was talking to my mom last night. She met Bridget for the first time this weekend. What did she notice about her? “She’s funny” “What a personality!” (And perhaps mom’s favorite thing) “she called me Grammy!”
Mom said nothing like “wow, she seems so normal for someone with a disability”. Because to her credit, a woman who grew up with kids in institutions if they had challenges, she saw Bridget as normal. And then, bc really how would she know: “I wanted to get her out of the stroller but I wasn’t sure she could walk”. Good thing, because Bridget doesn’t walk she runs–head on and at full speed and with no trepidation –towards life and people and fun and love. I wish I had that level of normal.
Wow. Both Lauren and Allie brought a lump to my throat. No, I should say they made the lump that you created, larger.
I think we all have those thoughts at times…why can’t it be normal? The thing is though – everyone’s experience is different. I don’t know that there is a normal.
I think we all have the same thoughts. It’s probably impossible not to – it’s not that we don’t love our kids as they are because WE SO DO. It’s that it’s freaking hard, and other kids can be mean, and we want so so much for them. I’m glad you wrote this. ❤
I honestly don’t think that 1000 years will make the difference – there’s nothing to forgive here! These are such very explainable thoughts and feelings, and it’s okay to have them and okay to own them.
I still want this times two, but the wanting doesn’t hit me so often now, and it will get better for you too in time xx
Oh . . . I don’t know what to say, other than I think you must be the absolute best mom ever, and you made me cry. Your love for your daughter shines through every word. There’s no shame in saying that you want “normal” life experiences for your child!
Thank you, so much, for understanding and I hope she does see that love more than the fear
I am sitting here crying, Kerri….tears streaming down my face. I so wish that Bridget could tell you how her day was at school and that you could have an actual day off, because God knows you deserve one!!
I know my mom had (has??) those days with me, too, and they hurt for both of us, but I understand so, so much. Like another commenter said, I don’t feel the need to forgive her because there’s nothing to forgive. A few years ago, she wanted to teach me how to cross-country ski – and I wanted to learn. I wanted it to be Our Thing, even just for that day. But it just wasn’t working out…I kept falling and not being able to get up, and she wasn’t able to help me up because my legs just weren’t moving the way that they needed to. We must have been quite the sight…I was sobbing and shaking in a heap halfway down the hill, my legs twisted hopelessly…and she was crying too, angry and upset and frustrated, saying over and over, “Why can’t you do this?? Why can’t you move your legs? It’s EASY!” and then, just under her breath, her tone switched from being angry to being sad, and she said – “It’s supposed to be easy.” And I broke. We *both* broke, right there in the middle of that damn hill, because it wasn’t fair. It WAS supposed to be easy. In that moment, I think what we both wanted more than anything else was for me to be normal.
It sucks sometimes, and it’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay to be sad. I just want you to know that I get it, and I’m here for you, and I will be cheering for you and Bridget every step of the way. She’s not “normal” (and neither am I!)…but she is pretty darn amazing. 🙂
You ARE amazing, I keep telling you so 🙂 It’s the “supposed to” that catches me unawares. But it does get easier and I hope she always knows that my fear/worry/upset comes from not being able to GIVE her the normal, if you know what I mean
I think the only difference between yourself and someone who “would never write a post like this!” is that you’re being authentic. And that’s what makes you a good parent, no matter if Bridget has special needs or not. All people have a list of wishes for their kids but they just aren’t brave enough to put a voice to them.
Ha! I know, many are not willing to put their wounds out there for others to criticize. I promise my husband wishes I had more of a filter 🙂
“In a thousand years, I hope she forgives me for these thoughts.” I don’t know your daughter, but if she is anything like my son, she has already forgiven you. It’s not true for every child, but most kids at some level are just happy to have parents who love them. Which your husband and you clearly do (for both Bridget and her sister). As for the rest, I agree with Allie. It does get better over time. You’ll work through the issues that bother you, and help Bridget create a life for herself. And that will take so much less than 1000 years. *hugs*
I can’t add anything wiser than the amazing comments that are already here. I can say that your thoughts do not need to be forgiven. You love Bridget with all of your heart, and you have these thoughts because you want the world for her. It’s just a different world than what you expected before she was born.
In a thousand years, I hope every parent on this Earth is as loving and fierce as you are, Kerri.
Thank you, Dana. The world is very different than the one I expected, still good but different. It definitely made me more fierce, that’s for sure!
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