As a mom you dream of your reality. Mine?
It was coffee dates with other moms who stayed home. I remembered my own childhood playing with friends up and down the stairs while our mom's chatted about the days and weeks affairs. Heck, I remember chasing a boy who would be my future prom date up and down the basement steps for a kiss while his mom and my mom laughed with friends. I wanted that. I dreamed of that. Perhaps I was born just a little too late or maybe my perception of what was really happening was far from reality. I had anticipated PTA Meetings and volunteering. I wanted to be in my children's classrooms helping to sort projects and cut papers. I wanted to coach and cheer as my kiddo danced on stage to some beat that she couldn't keep. I imagined football helmets and I think my husband pictured wrestling singlets. Heck, in 7th grade I had all 15 of my children named...all beginning with the letter "K".
Then life hit.
We had a 3 kids in grad school. That wasn't when it was supposed to start and as we slowly began to pull ourselves out of that unexpected sand mine, a surprise of a son. That was perfect. The of course our fierce warrior, the one that neither of us anticipated nor even dreamed would end up in our home, as our life guide not just a child for us to raise.
With her diagnosis, I changed. He changed. We changed.
Just as I had started getting to that "mom goals" status, my life shook, our world shattered and I crumbled.
When we got that diagnosis, that first year, a mother, well versed in special needs told me it would take a year. I would be okay after that.
That year passed.
I wondered why it was taking me longer. To understand. To accept. To acknowledge. Maybe it was my stubbornness, my inability to accept reality, my fear of putting what I dreamed of that perfect facade behind me.
I wanted that life, the one I imagined, the one I planned and yet no matter how hard I tried I had to realize the path we were on wouldn't look like coffee dates, PTA Meetings and volunteering. Sure, I could have some of that but it would be smattered with therapy appointments, doctors visits and IEP Meetings in which I would learn to trust a team to work with me for the best interest of my child.
For two years, our world stopped. Today, it still takes pauses. Those pauses hard to explain, hard to understand, hard to know unless you too walk this path of uncharted territory as well.
The family my husband and I worked so hard to develop split and when one parent was out, another was in and it seemed that dream that I imagined was no where near a dream, that dream was dashed and a nightmare achieved.
Recently though, something has changed.
I realized I was the one holding us back. There would be failures, there would be moments of unease but there would would be moments of that life I had imagined smattered with moments where I could use our family to teach, to educate and to call to action.
We arrived and I tentatively explained to the kiddos that the entire hour and a half "free skate" session was a lofty goal for our family and though I thought I wanted to stay that long myself, reality was the time was a little more than I anticipated our sweet Warrior could take.
So today, we skated. As a family..well daddy kindly was our bag boy.
That fear I had, of failure, it didn't happen.
Sure, we had falls and spills but so did most of the families on the ice.
We didn't make it the whole time, but I didn't expect it and in the end, we left uplifted, feeling confident and creating memories that I dreamed of as far back as seventh grade.
So for you families of kiddos with special needs, don't hole up. Don't choose to allow a disability to keep you from trying. I know all our outings won't look like this. I know that we won't have moments to celebrate each weekend but I know when we do, my cup, which is emptied with therapies, doctors and meetings that focus on all we can't do and who we can't be will be negated with the fact that there are times we can be exactly who I imagined.
Today was a great reminder of the life I dreamed, the hopes that I had and the goals that I thought of...so for you, families stuck at home, wishing you had that life you dreamed of, "Just Do It". Perhaps Nike had it right when they suggested we just try, for who knows what we can achieve if we don't step out there and take a chance.