Sunday, October 23, 2011

The gift I got 8 years ago......

My first-born turns 8 today.  When I was writing her birthday message - I realized how much of it was about me, not her.  So I wrote another one focusing on her - but I thought I would publish what I originally wrote - which was what I have gotten out of the journey that started 8 years ago.  Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever done - but also one of the greatest gifts - she made me more human, and I now realize that knew nothing before I had her....and that I still probably know nothing.....I hope I have a full lifetime to learn.......

I never knew my heart could break and fill with pride all at the same time - and it does, every time I watch her try something physically challenging, like skating - where her muscles can't do what she needs them to do, but she keeps on trying.....and never complains about how often she falls. 

I never knew how helpless I could feel when the world seems to be more than she can handle and process - where every unkind word and deed is stored in her memory.  When she realizes that other kids are faster than stronger than her, and quicker to learn. That things she works so hard at doing, come so easily to others.  Her pain builds up and explodes in such a big way, and I am helpless to protect her from it.

I never knew how frustrating it could be dealing with a child who has challenges learning.  How I would have to reach deep down within myself to look for the patience to deal with her unwillingness to try at times.  (**I have learned that enjoying a glass of wine during reading time helps**)

I love how she surprises me with her bravery.  Her love of roller coasters and horseback riding - such a thrill seeking nature behind such a quiet, shy and tentative front. 

I never knew I would walk around for the rest of my life feeling so vulnerable - worried that I can't give her all the tools she needs to survive and thrive in this world.

I never knew the joy I could feel doing simple things together, like "saving worms" after a big storm (placing them gently back in the grass so they don't dry up and die on the pavement).  Taking walks in the woods, going out "just the girls" for ice cream. 

I never knew how disappointed I could feel in myself, whenever I lose my temper with her (and it happens more often than I care to admit). How ashamed I am at myself for getting frustrated with her chronic shyness.

I never knew how hurt I would be when she acts like a typical 8 year old.  Rolling her eyes at me, questioning my motives, saying she "hates" me.  I know she doesn't mean it, but it still hurts. 

I never thought a child would be the one to make me question all the beliefs and definitions I have about success.  Cs in school are ok, as long as you are trying your best.  And it's ok if you want to work in an ice cream shop when you grow up - not everyone has to go to University or aim to be a CEO. Maybe success isn't external, but internal.  If you're happy, you win - who cares what your paycheque or title are. 

I never knew the peace I could feel when we sit quietly together.....just being.  I could sit like that forever.

Happy Birthday beautiful girl, you are perfect, just the way you are.

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