Archive for June, 2010
“Mommy, could you get me a little brother?”
As we were driving by the extinct volcano near our house in Ga’s convertible, “If this volcano erupted, would we have to put the top up?”
“Do you pick up stuff on Ash Wednesday because the volcano ash will hurt it?”
“I’m tired of sleeping in my bed.”
“I always like to talk to little people like me.”
“Is there a life cycle for poop?”
“That’s how I like to spend my money. On cheap stuff.”
As he’s observing the hair on his legs, “Mommy? I think I’m getting too haired.”
“Mommy, I think I should just skip 4th grade and go straight on to college.”
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant – I was scared to death. As in complete panic freak-out of epic proportions. I’m not really sure why, although I wonder if my sub-conscious self knew more about what was to come than I realized.
Then I found a wonderful little community of also due in April, 2001 mommies on a web bulletin board. These people became my tribe, my friends, my confidants, and those that understood my not-so-irrational fear about becoming a parent. We bonded to the point of talking about getting together in real life on the kids’ fifth birthdays.
Then the babies came. Mine earlier than almost everyone else’s. Once we all reconvened weeks later, it became clear to me that my tribe no longer felt like my own. It didn’t come from them; they were as supportive as can be. This was certainly self-imposed, but it felt like the beginning of a long few years of distance and differentness from other parents. Our experiences were so different starting from birth that I simply couldn’t see how to bridge what felt like a huge gulf between us. What should have been an experience of joy, excitement and happiness was for us a time of nothing short of terror. There weren’t moments of enjoying this little bundle that had arrived – instead it was wondering if this little bundle was going to survive each day.
I stuck with the group for a few years, fading in and out as I felt comfortable. But it was just too painful as the gulf continued to widen while our children grew. Their kids were catching colds and eating solid food while mine was making the rounds of neurologists and feeding therapists. There no longer seemed to be any commonalities between us beyond birthdates.
Finally, it became too big an ocean for me to bridge, and I disappeared for good, only to be contacted by one of them again when her younger daughter started to show signs of autism. She and I formed a tenuous new relationship and have kept in touch via facebook, where I notice all the other “Born in April, 2001” mommies seem to reside, still friends, still supporting each other like friends do.
And I find myself wondering once again where I fit. I still think of these caring, wonderful women as an important part of my life, but they also represent such incredible pain to me I wonder if one can ever really go home again. I wonder if a bridge, so completely broken, can ever be rebuilt.
Fair doesn’t mean that everyone is treated the same, but that everyone gets what he deserves and needs.
I don’t remember where I came across this sentiment, but I remember the day I did. It was the first day this year that C wore his hat to school after opening the wound on his head for the zillionth time in the two years since it first appeared. As he walked nervously onto the playground that morning, he was the brunt of a rude comment from his frienemy.
“Why does C get to wear a hat when I don’t? I never get to wear a hat to school! IT’S NOT FAIR!” he exclaimed in his own version of a tantrum for which I had no patience. C started to cry, and I wanted to unload all of my frustration upon this child who torments C nearly as often as he is nice to him. Is it fair that C has this compulsive skin picking disorder that leaves him scabbed and scarred? Is it fair that C has to be friends with a child I would, under different circumstances, ban from our home simply because he is such a terrible friend? Is it fair that I had to leave a crying child at school simply because if I took him home in that moment, he might never return?
Somehow that day, I found the statement I quoted above. It has meanings on so many levels for our special children: not the least of which applies directly to the special education services they so desperately need. Now we have hat privileges written directly into C’s IEP so that we don’t have to jump through any hoops next time around.
Even the title of my blog, What We Need, has meaning on so many different levels. I’m still not sure, two and half years after starting this blog that I have solved the question of just what it is we need. And I’m not sure C received what he needed on that particular day when his so-called friend made him cry before they even walked into the building. Yet somehow I did when I stumbled across the real meaning of fairness on that day when I needed it most.
Here’s hoping that C, and all others like him, gets exactly what he deserves and needs.