Thursday, March 10, 2016

Don't Cry Mama... Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Ok....

Mom-Worry is different from any worry I've ever experienced in my life.  It's stronger and more direct to the heart than any worry I've ever had for myself or other family or friends.  We worry that they'll get hurt, that they'll get a sunburn, that they'll wake from a nightmare and feel lonely and scared, that they won't make friends, that they feel included, that they learn and develop and grow with this concept of "normal" and "developmentally appropriate" as our guide.  We tell them to be careful, to look both ways before crossing the street, to use their words, to stand up for themselves.  We tell them lots of things.  And then we give them a hug and they walk out into the world and make their own decisions and try new things and test their boundaries and grow....  And we watch, and pray, and trust....  I've felt Mom-Worry with the Tween, especially around social interaction and difficulty developing friendships with peers at school, and around some things with her academics years ago.  But, it's been a little while since I've felt this level of Mom-Worry....

The Tween practicing violin.
Today, we dropped the Threenager off at Preschool and as she ran off to play at the sand table, we had a mini-conference with her teacher in the doorway.  See, after returning from three weeks of sick time in February (she does two days of preschool per week, so in the Life of Threenager, three weeks is a Very Long Time), we began encountering some challenges.  Her first day back, she had her first meltdown at school...  and it was Epic.  She screamed and cried inconsolably for over an hour, until she tired herself out and finally fell asleep on her nap cot.  Her teachers and early ed supervisor tried everything they could to calm her--and when that didn't work they called us.  Now, she has shown us some pretty epic meltdowns at home, but this was the premier performance at school.  While the Husband and I know that she calms from one of these meltdowns by sitting alone in a quiet space, and that trying to help her through it tends to aggravate her more, school didn't know that.  We picked her up early that day, and we both approached the following weeks with apprehension, wondering if this was a one-time, out of sorts, very bad no good day kind of thing, or if this would be a persistent issue.  A couple of weeks passed with no issues.... and then Tuesday, two emails, two meltdowns, not as epic as her premier performance, but still challenging.  She doesn't handle transitions well.  She doesn't handle change well.  She's the youngest in her class--so she has room for development and maturation.  She's incredibly bright and creative, highly verbal though she doesn't always choose to use her words, she can focus for hours on a task, and she draws and colors like no three year old I've ever met.  We know these things and we're working on them--encouraging her strengths and trying to work on her challenges.  Some days I worry that there's something more going on for her than just normal Threenager stuff, and other days I'm convinced that this is Three, this is what Three looks like, and it's so, so hard, but we'll walk through it together and Four will be better.

The Threenager's drawing of a Whale Shark:  Blue marker on a white paper.
But, today, standing in the doorway mini-conferencing with her teacher, I felt tears prickling at my eyes, I felt my throat tighten as I talked through those feelings of worry, uncertainty, and powerlessness.  Worry that this may not be Three, uncertainty I guess regarding my parenting...  am I doing something wrong, and powerlessness because when she's at school there's so little we can do.  We can communicate and continue working on these things at home.  School can communicate and we can all share ideas or tell each other if something is working.

As we walked toward the car, the Husband said to me, "It looks like you're having a harder time with this than I am even." and I didn't say anything, because I knew he was right.  Instead, the tears that were threatening before poured down my cheeks as we walked out of the school into the cool Minnesota breeze.  As I sat down in the car, I thought to myself what I tell Mom-Friends all the time...  "This too shall pass.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  Don't fear, Mama, everything is going to be alright."  I can't tell you how many times I've said these things to friends...  Friends who were struggling, or who found out that their child is on the autism spectrum, or has a disability that they had never envisioned as they saw their beautiful, precious, perfect unborn child by ultrasound, or held him on her bare chest immediately after he was born, or while decorating the nursery and reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting".

And I thought...  How must my Mother have felt???

She spent her entire pregnancy dreaming, hoping, getting to know this perfect little baby inside of her, growing, kicking, even the tiny little hiccups.  She labored for hours upon hours to bring me into this world, knowing with every horrendous contraction that she was about to give the most incredible gift possible, the gift of life.  And then, there I was...  Beautiful, but different.  Wonderful, but presenting a new world filled with uncertainty...

They handed her this stunning baby girl, with the white hair of an angel, blue grey eyes filled with the sky on one of those perfectly peaceful dreary days, and the fairest skin imaginable.  And they told her...

"She has albinism.  She may be blind."

And, she cried.  My grandma cried.  My family cried.  This was not what they had dreamt of.  This was not what they had hoped for, or prayed for, or expected.  This was not what they knew.  And they worried.  And they feared.  Would she be blind?  What would she see?  Would she succeed?  Would she make friends?  Would she be ok?

"Don't Fear Mama.  Every Little Thing is Going to Be Ok."

She WILL be ok, she will be more than ok, and so will you.  She has YOU and YOU are perfect for her.  She will face challenges, struggles, adversity.  She will fail sometimes.  But, she will learn.  She will find her way and YOU will help her.  She will amaze you!  She will do great things.  She will do hard things.  She will find and embrace her beauty and differences--it might take a while, but it will happen.  Believe in her.  Believe in yourself.  Believe in the dreams you had all of those months as you waited to meet her and wondered who she would be.  Those dreams are still there, getting to them just looks a little different now.

And, I know that whatever this is that's going on with our Threenager...  Whether it's Three, or whether there's something more, it's going to be ok.  I need not fear.  I need not worry.  She is our precious gift, and we are perfect for her.  Every little thing is going to be ok.

Closeup of Katie and Evie reading a book together.  Evie is sitting next
to Katie in our oversized living room chair and pointing at the book.

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