Friday, January 9, 2009

It's Okay

One of the things my husband and I have been working hard on the last year is truly being happy for our friends with "normal" kids and not feeling bad/upset/sad that their children progress when ours stay stagnant.  We actually went to grief counseling to try and help us (which, btw, I recommend for any parent with a special needs child... or children.) The main thing that's helped us is being open and honest with our friends when we're sad about things, rather then holding our jealousy/sadness/anger in. 

Reagan had an awesome week with the walker.  She finally took a few steps without our help. Left, right, left... and then crumpled to the ground totally freaked out.  But I was so happy that she did it on her "own," it was the first time she'd done that without us holding the walker.  YAY!!  Tonight we had a friend over whose kid is about 5 weeks younger gestationally than Reagan.  We knew that eventually her little girl would pass Reagan up and has been on that path for awhile.  When they were playing in our toy room tonight her little girl eyed Regs walker and crawled over there, without even thinking I situated her on the walker and said "go get your Mommy!"  And... what happpened?  Yup.  She went straight to her Mom on the walker and then for the next few minutes cruised around the basement with no problems at all.  Sigh.  Blast. 

Luckily this friend is a close friend and I think she could see the pained expression in my eyes cause she asked straight up "does that make you sad?  I'm sorry, I didn't even think about that!" I told her I didn't think about it either... until her girl was doing it with so little effort and no exposure.  I had the opportunity to use what we talked about in grief counseling.  :)  I told my friend honestly that yes, it was hard to see her girl moving forward and progressing when my child wasn't, but that I was happy for her successes even if it made me sad.  I thought that was progress.  I wasn't even bitter... okay.. maybe a teeny bit bitter. 

Progress though.... progress....

12 comments:

Jessica said...

it's such a blessing to me that you posted this. I have been struggling with this for a while but this past week it has been extreamly difficult. It's hard for me to see my friends child start to walk at 10 months when my child is almost 15 mo and just started to sit up. I was at the store and i heard a baby cry and I litterally was upset by it. I thought what a monster im turning into. I too need to be happy for those who were born with healthy children. It's funny some days when life is going along I feel like i am back in Italy. I am almost hurt when my eyes are opened and something gets tripped up(like our long visit to the ED yesterday) that I realize nope Im still in holland. I'll be here for a long while so i think I will finally start smelling the flowers and watching the windmills. It's probly better air quality here anyways.

Melissa said...

Thanks Lori for posting something I think we all struggle with. I have a couple friends who have kids born the same month as Josh. It is hard at times to see all the amazing accomplishments they make it rapid time frames when it takes our kids months to learn a small skill. I think it will always be an inner battle to remember that we are in a different place and that isn't bad. But you do need some support because it is not easy. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

Luke and Erin said...

Bree used a little walker for a several months. We took that thing everywhere: church, doctor, big sis's school, grandparents house, everywhere we went it was with us. At first my husband and I noticed the people looking and wanting to ask but didn't. And at first it really bothered us. We resented those that asked and those that just looked.
There was one day we were at the doctor's office and there was a little boy there that was a few months younger than Bree. He was very interested in the walker and his mom kept pulling him away, with that “look”. Bree was sitting on the floor so I started to talk to the little boy trying to answer the questions that his mom was asking in silence. I let him cruise around in it and was very sad for the same reasons you just expressed. But as I have thought about that more and more, I like to think that in some very small way I helped that little boy and his mom, as they helped me. She was apprehensive, but still allowed a teaching moment. A moment that I hope they, well at least her as he was very young, will remember. I showed them that being special is not scary, just different. I hope in time all the tulips can have this chance and see it as a teaching moment and not as something to be sad about… although it is sad for us. Bree does not know any different. She was born this way. To her this is normal for us this is normal. Being special is normal. As long as I can remember that and stay positive I think she will be happy and reach her full potential.

Anita Nap said...

I know what you mean and you're doing awesome.

Happy in Holland said...

You guys are all so amazing. Thanks everyone for sharing. And yes, Lori, it is progress, and progress is good. Keep on keepin' on!

Lori said...

awww thanks guys. I agree, "special is normal." I think it's convincing the un-special parents that "special is normal" ;) what a good idea about using it as a teaching method. i hadn't thought about that, taking the scary out of the equipment. i'll keep that in mind with our family and friends.

Katie said...

This is one of my biggest problems. I agree with Jessica that sometimes I forget that anything is "abnormal" and then I see Josh play with another child and it breaks my heart to see how different they are. Once I get upset about it I tend to push people away and try not to let them into JT and my little circle of love. In fact, I didn't go to church for about 2 years without crying like a baby. People thought I was crazy. In my old ward people were afraid of talking to me because I would just start crying in the middle of a conversation. I would like to believe that I am making progress too. It's okay if it is two steps forward and one step back. It is still progress. I believe that telling people when you are jealous/sad/etc. must be the healthy way but it can be hard. I will have to try harder to not just push them away.

tiptoe mama said...

I really needed this post too. That is something I constantly, constantly, have to try to keep in check. The difference is so much more my problem than anyone else's. MK surely doesn't feel bad about it. It's one of those things that comes in degrees. Sometimes you think you're okay, and other times, reality slaps you in the face and you've got to come to grips with it all over again.
I haven't really even posted here for awhile because I have been feeling low for the past couple months, and I just hate to complain and be negative and bring every one else down. So thank you. I needed to hear that it's okay.

Lori said...

Katie and TipToe, I can relate to both of you... Katie, I have had my moments where I just break down in public. I'm sure it's ME not my kids, they don't seem to care they aren't like everyone else. :) I truly believe it's embracing the "special" part of your special one as the most amazing part of them. I look at older parents whose children are teenagers, etc and they have fully adopted that mentality. I hope to eventually get there and this blog is definitely helping me gain strength to do so.

TipToe, I'm sorry you've been so low. We're all here, don't ever feel bad about saying things. I think when you hold things in it makes it 1,000 times worse then just getting it out. Sometimes it's just the ability to say "BLEH!" and you feel better. haha. Big cyber hugs to you.

familystemsupport said...

Reading this post today has been a blessing for me. I think I am hitting an emotional low. Yesterday we went out to lunch with my mom and dad. While trying to eat I forgot to cut "P"'s onion rings. When he started choking it dawned on me..after that I was too guilty to eat. Then this morning he has not had control of his potty so back to the diapers. It just breaks my heart that his 3 year old sister will start school tomorrow and no one knows when or if he will be able too. So thanks for reminding me..I am not alone.

Nancy Brown said...

Oh thank you for the post. I have had a weekend and I am sure a few more days of stuff I don't want to see but this has helped a lot.

Anita Nap said...

For me, it's not the obvious physical milestones that Marshall doesn't hit that remind me he's not quite "normal". It's things like having to get up with him 4+ times a night because he's scared the bad guys will get him. Or how he has to have someone CONSTANTLY entertaining him and if you don't, he gets all in your face and is out of control angry. There's also the issue with how much he HATES change. He hates it SO MUCH that he clings to me and cries and gets angry when he has to go to Primary. He does NOT like his new teacher. He does NOT like Primary now. Sigh. It's not going well here. There are so many times when I get frustrated because he's not like other 4 yr olds. He won't eat, can't sleep, gets angry. Yeah, typical 4 yr old. Whatever.