When Zoe was little, each moment of truth was stunning. She will never walk by herself. She won’t run in the grass, walk in the sand, or recklessly dance her way across the room. These moments have continued as she grows older. Drive a car. Have a child. Grow old.
I grieve these truths and then move on, trying to live so typically that sometimes I can forget for a long, long while. Until now, now that Zoe, and her big sister, are coming to know these truths- and understanding them enough to shed their own tears.
Zoe is 9 now, and loves to sing and dance- read about sassy girls like her, and is smart, especially in that ” when you least expect it” kind of way. Zoe’s big sister is almost eleven, and I have spent these years teaching them that they can do anything,that everyone is beautiful in their own way, that they are just like everyone else. For Zoe especially, she believes this to be true- and only recently has she started to see how truly different she really is.
During a recent bedroom dance session, I caught some of her awesome moves on video. She grabbed my iphone the other day and began playing the clip. She was stunned. ” Mom, I looked horrible ( one of her favorite dramatic declarations.. horrrrrrrible!) I thought I danced better than that “she said- and then she sat .. silent for a few minutes. And then just yesterday, we were talking about school. .. and in the midst of all of her objections, that it is hard, that she gets tired.. that she likes choir but.. was that truth that came before the tears… ” I can’t sing like the other kids.”
And yes, I know how to fix these things. She will practice, and practice , she adapts and learns at her own pace. The awesome team at school will help her practice too, and her confidence will grow. I know it will be another accomplishment for her.. until the next truth comes. And is that what comes along as your special needs child grows older- teaching them these truths?
I get emails sometimes from other moms in the special needs communities. Asking about what I deal with or how. Have I ever experienced this or that.?. and the answer is most always yes. I just can’t share that. The grittiest ugliest stuff, the seizures, the stroke, the sicknesses. To me, the details are private. To my husband and others who love them, it is painful, too. And sometimes, there are no words. I try to protect my daughters when they are at their worst, I want to care for them, heal them the best I can and we just hunker down until the storm has passed.
The start of this school year has brought many of these reminders, the adaptions, the schedules, the fear of the fast spreading school germs that can knock the girls down in a moments notice.The extreme heat has led to shortening the school day. I have been scheduling the new season of doctor’s appointments and getting back to a productive work schedule. Soon it will settle down, and I will slip into the school routine again. And I look forward to moving on , keeping the painful moments private and living so typically that I can forget for a while , celebrate the new successes, the growth , the improvements – until the tears come again.