I’m going to try something new here at News Anchor To Homemaker. I want to start a weekly series that I hope will accomplish a couple of goals for me 1) To be more present every day 2) To write more 3) To polish off my journalism skills by finding stories around me and the lessons that lie within them. Let’s call it Jillian’s Midweek Moral. Yay alliteration! Every week I’ll be looking for a story, a lesson to learn from. It may come from my kids, husband, a stranger, one of my children’s many care providers, teachers, a church sermon, news event or something I’ve read. My blog posts are typically reflections of my own life. What I hope will be a bit different about this series is to find the bigger story, or moral, that we can all take something away from. Things that make us think. Also, my writings can sometimes take me hours upon hours to complete. These writings may be a bit shorter, might have a more casual style and will likely not be as big of an emotional commitment to read. I’ve heard on occasion that I’m a real tear-jerker! I’m hoping to provide a bit of thought and maybe even a lift to the middle part of your week. Thanks for taking this journey with me.
Midweek Moral-Being Who They Need
Us special needs or disability moms (whichever usage you prefer…this whole debate makes my head spin) have a lot of appointments for our kids. We sometimes describe ourselves as therapy moms because of bouncing back and forth between speech, occupational, physical and whatever other therapies doctors suggest our kids need. And then after the sessions are done we go home and try to balance the normal life stuff: work, grocery shopping, carpool and making dinners that we pray our kids will eat…and oh yeah, try to fit in whatever therapy activities our kids are working on.
Therapy changes the way you parent. With my first child, I didn’t think about her development much. I read to her, taught her preschool basics when I got a chance, but I mostly just played with her without giving it much thought. That’s not how I am with my second child, Anderson, who has Down syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, we turn on music and have dance parties, we pretend to be pirates and play trains, but I’m always trying to squeeze an element of therapy, extra learning into everything we do.
But lately, it’s not working. He’s having none of it. He’s having none of me.
I’ve been frustrated with him over the last few months. Why doesn’t he want to learn the way he used to? Where did his motivation go? Is this just 2 or is this who he is? What am I doing wrong?
Before we moved to Texas in May we had 3 therapy appointments a week. Now, we have 6. Thank you Jesus for creating people who invented private in-home therapy companies!
It’s a little less work on me having left a clinic setting (still a juggling act) but it’s a lot on him. I started noticing that he misbehaves (more) if I sit with him during the session. I noticed that when I tried to repeat what the therapists were doing (even in my most stealth mom ways) he’d throw a big wall up. Mom, I see that you’re trying to teach me something- it’s not happening.
And I came to this conclusion: he needs me to just be mom right now.
I came home during one of his sessions and he immediately wanted me. Arms up- Mum, Mum, Mum. I gave him a hug and I walked away, assuring him he was almost done with the session. When the therapist left, I asked Anderson if he wanted to sit with me on the couch. Yeah. I thought about reading him a book, but instead we just sat. He laced his pudgy fingers inside my awkwardly long ones, he laid his head on my shoulder and we just were.
I’ll always be his teacher on matters of the heart, but right now he needs me to take off all other teaching hats. I need to let go and let his six therapy sessions a week and two school days help him along with his development.
And reader, it made me think, if I’ve missed opportunities like this before. The world tells us not to change who we are for anyone. But what if the ones who need us most, need us to change how we are towards them- how we love them? Perhaps permanently or maybe just for the season. The grieving friend needs us to just hold their hand and fight against our natural instinct’s to advise them. A spouse going through a hard professional time needs us to give them space, when all we want to do is help them sort it out. Our kids need us to let them figure out a tricky instance at school on their own instead of stepping in.
I learned this week that my two-and-a-half year old needs me to love him differently. I hope he lets me put my therapy hat back on one day, but right now, the professionals will be the professionals and I will be mom. And that’s enough.