Monday, July 16, 2012

Life with a child--#NaBloPoMo

My husband and I had an axe to grind in our early parenting years. We felt as though there was some secret society, a group only for parents, which preyed upon parents-to-be.

Surely it was not our imagination. Had anyone else noticed that parents seemed to conspire with one another to withhold the down and dirty facts concerning life with children from young expectant parents?

We half joked that we were going to be the parenting myth busters, my husband and I.

Those sweet pastel onesies and and the layettes with the frogs? Don't get attached to them. They'll be covered in warm barf soon enough. For that matter, so will you, so you'd better not be attached to any of your own items of clothing.

Become one with bodily functions. Your life will now revolve around them. They will become more important than world news. Sometimes you will chart them. Often, you will talk about them in public, with other people, and actually expect those people to take interest.

You will never sleep properly again. Ever.

Say good-bye to your privacy, your pelvic floor and your brain cells. Give up any pre-conceived notions. For at least the next twenty years, your life will be in servitude to a dependent being. Embrace it.

Parenting is very much like an alien invasion--kids take over your body, your home and your lives. Not to mention suck your energy and your bank accounts.

We were sure that with all of this wisdom to impart, we would be FABULOUS guests at any baby shower. Friends tell each other like it is, right?

Well, a few years down the road complete with two stints at Baby Boot Camp, we've tempered our views a bit. Maybe it's amnesia. I don't know.

Somehow, the barf doesn't seem so important when you hear the full belly laugh of your child.

I've happily exchanged a few brain cells for kisses from my kids.

And, I may not have privacy but I have a lot of great moments.

Perhaps this is what experienced parents knew that my husband and I needed time to learn. Along the way, special needs came into our lives, and we discovered a thing or two more.

Like, how the first word at age three from a nonverbal child could make me the proudest mother on the planet because I knew all of the hard work that brought my child to that moment.

Or, how absolutely brave my children have been at 4,5,6 years and beyond after having surgeries and hospital procedures that no children should have to endure.

Pills, corrective braces, adaptive equipment and behavioral therapy--watching your children take all of this in stride and still be able to laugh at their own hiccups like any other kid. Yes, those moments are priceless.

In the early, early months of parenting with our older son, I remember crying to my mother on the telephone. Our son was in distress, and none of my instincts regarding children were helping him. I was tired. I was disheartened. I felt like a failure, and I felt as though having a child had ruined my life.

My mother offered to come to NY to help me for a while.

"Why?" I asked her. "Why would you do that? Why would anyone voluntarily walk into this kind of life?"

I was sure that I lived in hell.

"Because I love you," she told me.

I don't think that even then, I fully understood. Now, a few years down the road in my own parenting journey, I'm sure that I do.

The love for your child is like none other.

NaPoBloMo July Challenge. Halfway through, and it hasn't killed me.

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  1. Parenthood is sure a lot different than any expecting parents could possibly imagine. Even then, amazingly enough it is worth it.


    1. I was so sure I knew what I was getting into, Kathy...boy, was I ever wrong!! Lol!!!

  2. Beautifully and yet lightly done. A very nice combination.
    It's always easier to look back at babyhood than it is to live through it. Wait, that can be said about all stages of life. Does that give you some hope? LOL
    Nope it hasn't killed you AND I am loving these posts. Honest.

    1. My gosh, it is soooo much easier in retrospect. Those were terrible years.

  3. I can't tell you because words could never tell how much I miss my mother. She was the one to whom I could complain openly and not have to apologize. Having two children with special needs and none without is a world apart from many other families. I have much to be grateful for, but I long for my mom sometimes for a soulful vent.

    Autism is so consuming and no one loves and cares like your mother.

    This made me cry tonight. There's no substitute for unconditional love.


    1. Ann, I'm sorry this made you cry, and I'm sorry that your mom is no longer here. <3. I understand a couple points that you make. While my mother does not live with special needs, she is my moyher, and I, too, have voiced things to her along the years as I've processed the challenges of parenting...things that are best left away from little ears. She understood. She's my mother like we are mothers to our two special kids. I understand having two with autism and none without. It is isolating. Hugs to you tonight and many thanks for all that you do.