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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Four Walls

I'm pretty competitive in nature.

But I was never a competitive baby mom. Meaning, when my kids were (and are) babies, I was never concerned with whether my kids were walking first, crawling first, cutting teeth early, first words, etc. This came from my first born, Gabe. Through labor, the doctors tried to rush him. But in the end, he came on his own time and when he was ready, he was ready. That became the pattern for Gabe through his younger years. He would be slightly behind until the very last minute and then he'd catch right up just in time.

Thus, my parenting motto when it came to milestones was that they will come in their own time. Very...flowery.

Then things changed. Now that Christian's milestones have all together been thrown out the window, the definition of everything has transformed. Actually, there is no definition. It's - it will happen when happens if it happens. The only thing close to a definition of what to expect with milestones (if you can call it that) is comparison with other children with the same issues. That's it! There's no other protocol.

See, this is unfair because no single brain injury is the same. Not a single one that I've found! Some children walk but don't talk. Some talk but don't eat. Some eat but don't walk. And on and on. So how can we, as special needs moms compare our children?

We can't. But we do. It's makes me crazy, but I do it. I admit it. It's so unrealistic. Sometimes comparing is great because you can gage what to expect with your child for which there are no parenting books written. But even that is silly because another child's path is guaranteed not to be yours in this world. It could be similar, but nothing to place bets on.

But we still do it, don't we? Why isn't my child doing that yet? Ugh. It makes me crazy, especially because just recently another family's blog came across my life-desk and knocked me for a loop. Well this family had their happy ending and their child is doing just fine. Why couldn't that be our story?

So I sulked. And I wondered why not my baby? And every time I hooked Christian up for a feeding and plugged in his tube, I thought to myself, "They don't ever have to do this...They won't ever know this."

I had a little pity party. But then something hit me. I have occasionally wanted what others have had in life. Yes, me. I have occasionally coveted the blessings of others in my past life maybe a time or two. Don't make a big deal of it.

But, I can say with 100% certainty that looking back, those blessings I saw others receiving that I so wanted for my own life, they came later and in different forms and, most importantly, AT THE RIGHT TIME. It has always happened this way and I can only recognize that in retrospect.

As soon as I "remembered" this tid bit of information from past experience, I accepted that these are our four walls. I mean I've accepted that this is what our life is now, but it's easy to loose focus. Especially, when you see another child getting everything you want for your child. But these are our four walls.

What do I mean by four walls?

Well, for the past few days, while attending my pity party all by myself, I kept hearing a voice saying four walls behind every thought I was having. I know in church, the pastor has said that God talks to you all the time. You just have to listen.

Four walls.

We have a new foundation. The concrete has been poured and settled and now it's time to solidify the four walls that are to keep us in from the rain. And these are the four walls we've been given. We can choose to build this house with doubt and fear or we can decide to strengthen these four walls so they can shelter us from the storm.

What does that have to do with comparisons? These four walls are our four walls. This house is our house and this journey is our journey. We don't want to live in somebody else's house. And even if we did get to live there, it would never truly be ours.

So I'm thankful for these four walls. They're different. Different than anyone else's. There are no comparisons here. Brick by brick these four walls will be built up high and strong. And just like these walls, bit by bit Christian is being built up to be strong again.

Life lesson learned (or re-learned) this week:

The blessings and healing will come on their own time. Just like Gabe did. In the mean time, we have a house to build with walls to strengthen so we're good and ready to receive those blessings. And everyday is a blessing here.


Eliisa said...

Shauna, just when I think I can't admire you more, I do. Not because you live every day with a disabled child and the heartache and uncertainty that is sure to bring. But because of your attitude. You gave me chills with this post. You inspire me to be better, to think better about my own life, and to be more thankful for what I have. Not because I have things that you don't. But because I should be more grateful. Because while pity parties and feeling down are a part of everyone's life, we can't let the negativity define us. And no matter what life throws at you, you never do. And that, my dear, is inspiring. You rock my world.

Cindy said...

Shauna, You are truly an inspiration to read. You have been so strong throughout your journey, and continue to show your strength of character in each blog post that you make. As Eliisa said, "you rock my world."

The Lesters said...

You put my thoughts into words exactly. I have been having a pity party myself this week as my child was just diagnosed with autism. And I too tend to compare and say, "Why us?". But you are so right. Comparing doesn't get us anywhere. If anything we should be comparing our children to themselves. Saying, "Well just a couple of months ago he wasn't able to do ____ and now he can." That is what we need to celebrate. Every moment forward.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Princess, you have a solid foundation, and a roof over your heads to protect you, but please don't make the brick walls so solid the people who love you so much can't reach you-and vice versa. Sometimes life just needs room to flow. Just a thought. Love you.

gavman306 said...

very well said Shauna!

Anonymous said...

Good point. I read your blog regularly. It made me smile today because I know what you are saying. Guess its natural. I am at a point now when I feel bad I think of someone who's situation didn't turn out as well as mine. Brings you back to reality and compassion. However, I will admit I saw OctoMom on the TV recently and I tried to see if all her 8 looked typical as I want them to but wondered how can she have have 8 perfect preemies when so many I know with one had a more difficult time. Guess its just natural.

Rochelle said...

What a wonderful post and a good reminder to all of us. Regardless of what our live struggles are, the challenges that we face daily, and what is going on in our lives, making sure our foundation is solid and walls are strong is definitely important. You have an incredible way with words. I wouldn't want to wish a pity party on anyone, especially not you, but the outcome of this was that you have inspired the rest of us to be better, live better and be stronger in our own families, as well as encouraged yourself whild listening to the little whispers of wisdom you are finding in this journey. Thanks for sharing this. We continue to pray for Christian, and you and your family, and hope for many more little blessings - whenever they come, however they come - and in the perfect timing that has been planned for Christian. Love ya!

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