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Sunday, October 13, 2013

The 10%.

There are peaks and valleys in this journey. And I hit a little valley. So I thought it best to just stay silent and process it before writing it out. That's what usually happens. The writing comes after I've made a little more sense out of what's going on.

Nothing major. Don't get worried. Christian is doing well, healthy, no complaints or concerns right now.

I think it started with our trip to Mexico. It was a little different than recent years and there were more children around that were very curious about Christian. I think Christian is getting to an age where adults and children have more questions. He's getting bigger and looking older. He's no longer a double take for someone to wonder if he's just a toddler in a stroller. No. He's a full grown five year old in a balls to the wall wheelchair. Not a push chair. Not a modified stroller. A wheelchair.

Lately there have been more questions. Kids are more curious. Kids are scared. Kids wonder what happened to Christian. But they're all very adorable and want to know how they can connect with him. I guess what's worse is when they completely ignore him. But is it worse? Sometimes I wish we would get ignored...not stared at...not asked questions. Sometimes that's okay with me.

So in Mexico there were more kids around his age. We got more curious questions. And then more curious questions. I put on my happy, question answering face and tried to answer each one like always so as to make sure nobody felt uncomfortable. Maybe I was overly sensitive. I was probably oversensitive at the time, now that I think about it. But at one time I felt like I had just answered the same question. I couldn't get my voice any more high-pitched-helpful and I finally responded with, "What do you mean?!" As in, didn't I just tell you? No. It was her brother I had explained to about Christian. So now it was time to do it again.

There was a time during that vacation that I was sitting at a table with a six year old. And it hit me that the conversation I was having with him about his ice cream is something that would be happening with Christian. It's like I was fascinated by this realization. I tried to picture Christian in this conversation and it made me sad. I just wanted to stay in this ice cream banter and keep imagining what it would be like talking to Christian.

Look, I can only be happy-smiley-face-helpful-cheerful-voice-question-answering Shauna about 90% of the time. The other 10% is that I don't want to answer questions. I don't want to be your worse case scenario. I don't want Christian to be the reason you go hug your babies. He's not dead. He's very much alive. He's a kid. He's my kid. That 10% of the time I get tired of trying to help you understand. It's exhausting trying to make sure you don't feel uncomfortable or mourn for us. It gets exhausting trying to prove to you that we're all okay and you don't need to feel sorry for us. In that 10% of the time, I don't want to answer anymore questions. I don't want to be tolerant of you. I don't want to understand horrified looks. I don't want to be a teacher or an example or a resilient mom. I just want to be.

Lucky for you, I mostly function in the 90% of peaks and happy, understanding, educating mom-hood. I usually am happy to answer your questions. And when you show your warm heart and you bring your child to Christian to say hello and you speak sweetly to him and ruffle his hair, I am so happy to sit down with you and answer any question you have, whether I'm living in the 10% or the 90% that day.

Today I launched myself out of the valley with this one thought - I'm not the only one. Who do I think I am feeling sorry for myself? Do I think I'm the first person to ever go through this? No! Others have come before me and they all lived through it. So get over it!

I'm over it. I'm in the 90% again. For now.


Maria said...

Shauna, this is such a good post. You do handle all questions well - and I'm sure it gets tiring at times, and also very repetitive. You most certainly are allowed to feel sorry for yourself once in a while. You bend over backwards to make your life and your children's lives normal and happy. But it's YOUR normal and you've owned it. My heart goes out to you - not in a sad, pitiful way, just that I know it must be hard for you.

People, especially children, are always going to have questions when they see Christian - you'll get questions when he's 20 and you're pushing him in his wheelchair, and you are getting lots of practice answering them now. However, if you don't answer them all smiley, that's ok. You are doing great. No one wants to be pitied, I get that. But I really admire you - and so do lots of other people!

Maria said...

Hi Shauna - I'm not sure if my previous comment will show up or not, I think I accidentally erased it without posting.

You are doing such a great job keeping your family and kids happy and dealing with your circumstances. You can't expect to be happy and upbeat all the time, especially when you're asked the same questions over and over, and sometimes in a not so nice way.

You are allowed to feel sad sometimes - it's really ok. My heart goes out to you as a mother, not because I pity you, but because I admire you. I don't know if I could handle the same circumstances with your grace and joy.

People will always have questions, especially as Christian gets older, like when he's 20 and you're pushing him in a wheelchair. I know you will be ok, because you are a strong lady! But please know that you are not a bad person if you feel sorry for yourself sometimes. You are allowed.

Meredith said...

I really relate to this post even though I don't field nearly as many questions since our circumstances are invisible. But my BIL took his own life not long ago, so "do you have any siblings?" becomes a triggering question. The loss has made me more guarded and private, and I've dropped off of FB and let friendships fade. But I'd like to get involved in suicide prevention advocacy similar to the way you've partnered with Ben's Bells, ISR, etc. I think 90% is a darn good stat, and I admire you!

Anonymous said...

One day i'll be strong enough to handle this. One day my 10% will turn into 90%, right? I hope so. You're my inspiration. I don't know how I could do this without your blog.

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