Right now, thousands of mothers and fathers around the globe are doing everything they can to ensure that their child has the best possible chance at surpassing expectations, breaking down stereotypes and fulfilling their beautiful God-given potentials. They are doing physiotherapy, drilling speech language exercises, practicing occupational therapy, attending early learning sessions, participating in music therapy groups, going swimming, investing in toys and tools to nurture their little one’s imaginations, language skills and gross and fine motor skills…and then…they are worrying that it is not. enough.
What if they are non-verbal? What if they still speak with an impediment? What if they are not kindergarten ready? What if they cannot live without constant care? What if they cannot function in a regular classroom? What if they cannot hold a job? What if they are not as independent as we had hoped?
Ella is two and half and it is preschool registration time. And I worry because when I think about what Jakob was like starting preschool, obviously, there is a big difference. There is a difference because not only is it 7 more months away, but also because Ella is not Jakob and while Jakob has always been very verbally adept, Ella has physical, cognitive and speech delays.
I said it.
I said what therapist don’t even like to say: A statement that for us as parents, never gets easier to say. And if we have to say it, we force ourselves to just swallow hard and choke it out.
We don’t like to admit that our child, despite all of our efforts, might not even function at the low end of normal. We don’t like to admit that they are an exception to the “every child is different and progresses at their own rate” rule. Because medical professionals have told us over and over again the expectations that we should have for our “normal” children so how can we pretend like we aren’t disappointed when our “not-so-normal” child has not met those milestones.
But here is the kicker: Ella is only two and half and that gap between her development and the development of her peers is only going to widen…exponentially.
I want to be honest in this space. I want to share these thoughts because I want other mothers with children with disabilities to know they are not alone, and I don’t want everybody else to think it is always gumdrops and lollipops, because it’s not. Sometimes, it sucks and your secret thoughts get the best of you. But then you breath, look at your beautiful child and refocus perspective. I don’t want to leave you here so I am inserting below, the “refocused perspective” and the part I choose to dwell on. It was a guest post I did over at this Mama last week. Just in case you missed it….