Who I Am TodayLet's face it, my journey into motherhood hasn't been an easy one. I've never asked for pity, condolences or special treatment. I hardly ever ask for help (even though I know I should). I take pride in the fact that I've been able to understand that this life - this crazy, chaotic, unlike-anything-I'd-imagined life - is my "normal". I'm making the most of it.
***Patting myself on back...***
With no disrespect intended, I want to answer the question I get asked most often:
(Q) How do you do it? I'm not sure I could ever be as strong as you.
(A) I don't know how I do it, I just do...I'm just doing the job that I was given. To be a mom. To love my kids. To do whatever it takes to make sure they are given the best life possible. Yes, my job might include things that yours doesn't, like overseeing weekly therapies, waiting helplessly in a hospital waiting room while my child undergoes # (fill in the blank) surgery and wondering every day why my child/my family was chosen for this journey. But the fact of the matter is that I'm no super-hero. I'm just doing my job. You would be able to do it to. You'd have to. Because like me, you too would do whatever it takes.
With that said, the fact that Ricky and I have become even stronger in spite of the challenges we've met during these past 2 years is not lost on me. I thank God every night for helping me find my best friend. For knowing that Ricky was just the person I was meant to be with and experience life's ups and downs with. Having him as my #1 supporter is definitely my saving grace.
But I also do not go a single day without thanking God for my parents. They are THE reason I am who I am today.
I have been blessed with the gift of telling stories. With the gift of being able to put my thoughts into words and sharing them with whomever is interested in reading. My father has always been a very gifted speaker and story-teller. I can remember sitting indian-style in the living room by the glow of the Christmas tree each year and being captivated by my dad's reciting of "Twas' the Night Before Christmas". I heard the words...but I stared intently at his facial expressions, mesmerized more by his pursed lips and wide eyes at all the right times. It was from him I learned how to engage an audience and make them want more. Enunciation. Speaking slowly in front of an audience. Animation. Heart. Those are some of the many qualities I've inherited from him - and for that I am thankful.
My mother is a little less "show" and a lot more "real". I credit her for my "tell-it-like-it-is" trait. I learned quickly to think twice before asking for her opinion if my intentions were only to get someone to nod in agreement with whatever my opinion was. She is too real for that. She'll be the one to tell you that she really doesn't like the high-lights you just spent $100 on at the salon or that she doesn't particularly care for your best friend. Not in that "rain on your parade" type way. In that "mom is usually right" type way. And yep, she usually is right. But even when she's not, you still respect the fact that she doesn't try to dance around the truth. Everyone needs someone in their life who will give it to you straight. For me, my mom is that person. Likewise, my friends know that I'm that person. They respect me for it. And that's why we are still friends today. So I am proud to have gotten this personality-trait from my morethanawesome mom.
The truth is, I am able to do my job and handle the challenges I've been given in part because of the very characteristics I've described above. Writing has been an outlet for me. Keeping people informed about Aiden's surgeries every step of the way and also letting people in on the fun, stressfree times we share as a family is therapeutic for me. Sometimes when I can't find the right words in person, I'm able to find them through my writing.
Similarly, hearing the straight truth and expecting nothing less is an important aspect of caring for a child with special medical needs. I don't want a doctor to sugar coat things just because they think I won't understand the terms or won't be able to handle it. I have no problem communicating concerns, addressing inconsistencies, or questioning a treatment. Once doctors realize that I'm 'that kind of parent', I feel they start respecting my position as not only the one bearing the emotional brunt of things regarding Aiden, but also the type who can and will advocate for his best needs.
Today, I'm thankful for my family. My husband, who continues to be my pillar of strength. My boys, who teach me more about life than anyone. And my parents. Without their constant and spot on guidance, without their unique and admirable traits that I've been lucky enough to inherit - I would not be who I am today. I'm doing my job because it's the one I've been given. I'm doing it well because I learned how from them.