Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Wishing Place

Friday night, the chill in the air finally felt like fall. As I walked into Streaks Stadium, nestled into the foothills of the mountains, I made my way to the stands. I stopped and chatted with a few friends and planted myself next to a couple of dear friends near the 50 yard line. A few rows below the press box, I stared off onto the field and watched the commotion of high school football. In front of those boys children danced and cheered. It was community night and although this is my community, our whole family won't be there together. Its a dream I have always had. A big family. Together. Always. Supporting each other. Celebrating successes, lifting each other up in difficult moments. A few friends asked, "is she here?" and I knew they were referring to Seraphina but like always, the answer was no. She's never there. It is too much. For her. For me. For everyone else in the stands trying to live that family dream that I once envisioned. Though my eyes faced forward, I zoned out into a space, a place only a mother with a child unable to be there can go.


The Wishing Place.

The Wishing Place comes back to me every once in a while in those moments when I think back to a time when I imagined what our family would be, what we could have been. Its a moment when I imagine what should have been, we all know the dream I had, its the one all parents imagine when they carry an infant into their homes across the threshold expecting a childhood of soccer games, Friday night lights, dance classes and tutus. In the wishing place, its different, its a place that creeps up into your mind reminding you of what you won't have, and now more than ever what it seems you need. 

I watched as young children, her peers jumped, spun and danced wearing their youth cheer gear and how I wished she too was there. I stared as high school girls scooped up kids her age and giggled, throwing their heads back into the cool air. Smiles that I wish I could see spreading across my own daughters face. Yet, it won't happen. Not this year. Not next year. Maybe never.

I tried to be there. For the other children. For children I have grown to love. To be present. For them. I had to, I laughed, listened to conversation around me and tried to keep up with the game but that uneasy laugh kept returning. You know the one I mean, the one that sounds so real you almost believe it but you know yourself you are doing it to squelch the pain, to push the feelings of sadness deep inside so that tears will not surface, so they will not fall.


Into the second quarter, my eyes began to focus more, the littles left the track and what was to come was the real reason I was there. I had to return to reality, out of the wishing place and come back so that I could be mom to one of the other four children I am blessed with. I walk a fine line between a special needs mom a mom to the other children I have. Last night, I played the roll of typical mom yet my heart wavered in between. Walking into that stadium I knew for me the night would be tough. I struggle finding balance, not feeling guilty, overwhelmingly sad or distracted by the sadness of what I don't have. Allowing myself to celebrate with my other children because they are deserving. Although I am constantly working on those feelings, nights like last night take me back to the Wishing Place. As I climbed out of the haze I remembered why I was there. Cecily. I went to watch for one of my other children. I wanted to see her, so support her and there she was. Cheering. For her, its new. I want her to flourish, to smile to be filled with joy in her life. I wished her dad could see her, with me, like so many families sitting under the lights, together. Safe as children ran around together, as a community in this small hometown. I am a mom. Not just Seraphina's mom, but mom to all my other kids. I sat and focused the camera hoping to take a few pictures for memories, to show her dad, for his own opportunity to be a part of her joy. Her hopes. Her dreams. To be honest, she looked great, the light over her face, the joy in her eyes, the smile she beamed. Though it felt bittersweet, I was glad I was present, wholly when she had her time to shine, grateful I could come back to reality from that place.


The Wishing Place, its a place a where a parent of kiddos like mine are invited. Its bittersweet, where you want what others experience yet you know you cannot. Its a place where you choose to celebrate with others but you know you this is not your story. So you arrive at the Wishing Place, you stay a while, you mourn what could have been and then, you leave knowing that one day you will return. Again. You will relive this moment through life as you continue to accept the cards you were dealt, the journey you travel, the path you walk. 

It may be easier, you will find other steps to celebrate yet there will be moments you return again and again through your life. To those who never visit, be grateful you are not invited.


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