Sitting around a table around 10:30pm on a Friday night with some amazing women in my life we talk about kids, and about being moms and the struggles and triumphs we go through. As I listen to some stories my heart swells and I wonder “how does she do it?” Then one mom says “I don’t know how you do it” addressed to me and I answer my honest answer “I have to and you all would do it too.” Because I know those moms at that table would do it and probably better than I do. They may not think so, but I know so. We always wonder how we would do in a different place. With a different struggle than the one we have and we always sell ourselves short on how we would manage it.
Isn’t life so much about learning along the way? I mean we all think we know it all at 20 and others will say we don’t, but we honestly think we do. Then we look back 13 years later and think, oh Kim you had no idea. But I love that! I love that I have learned by living. I have learned by mistakes and will continue to learn to the day we take our last breath. At least I hope so!
When we become moms, we have expectations. We have plans. And most of the time it isn’t as we expected, planned, dreamed. I thought Lily would be in dance and sports, sweet 16 and prom. I thought we’d walk her down the aisle. But those things won’t happen. Not in the way I pictured them to anyway. But when Andi Jane was born I had expectations for her as well. I had expected her to take over all those plans I had for Lily and for herself. At the time I wouldn’t have admitted to that, but looking back it is very clear. But Andi Jane didn’t like dance class. She picks flowers in the outfield, she isn’t the quickest in her studies and she’d rather spend 3 hours getting every word to a song correct and film herself sing it, off key, than do anything else. With Oliver I saw a dark hair, dark eyed boy, that looked like his dad. I expected him to have a chill out mentality and didn’t plan on him getting upset over a piece of his yogurt lid still stuck on the container. I didn’t expect him to be so hard to put to bed I certainly didn’t expect him to want to listen to Taylor Swift “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” over and over again. I didn’t expect him to be as hilarious as he is. Thank the Lord for that one. My point is I love that Lily can giggle and my heart is full, I love that Andi Jane wants to sing all day long and I love that Oliver wears a Spiderman costume three days in a row. They aren’t who I expected and I thank God each day for that.
Many years ago I didn’t feel like that. I did NOT live like that. I felt cheated. I felt God dealt us a bad hand and I felt like a martyr. I would listen to other moms ask for prayer for their kids to get tubes in their ears and I would say (in my head) ha! I’ll pray when they have brain surgery. I remember getting so mad at a mom one time at music therapy that said I should count my blessings that Andi (at a very wild 2) was able to express her needs and wants. I just smiled but in my head I said you should be grateful your child who needs music therapy walked into this place and talks to you! In my head I was a victim. I was ungrateful and I was downright nasty, although it was in my head and never spoken out loud, it hardened my heart. It was a awhile later I was watching the news and a mom was talking about her daughters sudden and unexplained hair loss which they found out was alopecia and the mom was doing all she could to help her daughter with wigs and I even think she went on to help other kids as well. I don’t remember the exact story, what I remember is that I thought I would have felt apathy for them but I didn’t. I was empathetic towards them and thought if that was Lily’s only problem you bet I would do all I could to help her to live a “normal” life, one where kids weren’t taunting her for her for being different. That was a real turning point for me. I totally changed my attitude. The lights came on. I realized yes tubes surgery is a big deal for a family who has been told their child’s hearing is impaired. Yes unable to express needs is a huge issue for a family. I realized my jealousy towards others was only hurting me and things changed.
I have met so many families along the way, some with kids more severe than Lily and I think to myself how do they do it? I think it is so common for us to think of others who have it differently and think I could never handle that. But you could if you had to. We all have struggles, we all have hurts and we all do what we have to do for our kids. So thank you for thinking of me and someone who can handle it all, but I am not. I handle what I am able to handle. God picks us and what we will carry. He knows we may not like it, we may fight it, but in the end it was the very thing we would never change because it made us.
Thank you God for loving me enough for placing Lily in our hands! Thank you for loving me enough to give us Andi Jane and Oliver. Thank you for the struggles our marriage had to go through so we could come together like we have. Thank you for changing my heart and giving me callouses on my hands so heavy things are easier to carry.