It’s been around 4 months since I walked off that plane with our 5th baby in my arms and into what I now call my little “tribe” There is something different this time about having added to our family once again. OUR 5th, much like adding the 3rd, and the 4th threw me for a loop for a bit. It’s more than just divide and conquer around here. Life has become more colorful, louder, funnier, and crazier. I laugh at the statements we now get since having 5 kids. I count other big familes I see when we are out thinking they are HUGE only to see they have the same number of kids we have, “oh, we look like that now” I forgot. I giggle when people ask me if we have help. I am sad when people ask me if this is the last one. I mean- have you met my kids? As much peace as I know David and I have that this sweet number is perfect for us, I would never ever tell God no. I know better than that. I also know everyone’s number is different, and our hands are for sure very full and our hearts are happy right now. Enjoying a toddler again, the pitter pat of little feet, the s “baby like” ways, the hilarious and crazy things only toddlers do is giving us so much joy. Having a teen that drives, and one in diapers is funny at times. I do love love that my kids are all different ages and bouncing between parenting a teen, a tween, a toddler, a kindergartner and a first grader leaves me spinning a lot of days.. Life is full, its hectic at times, we have simplified and make an effort not to do too much so that we can just enjoy our new family of 7.
That is all the normal hectic things in life. But we have another “Layer” that is our life now- and its slowly becoming our new normal. ( disclaimer- I have struggled a lot on what and how to post our journey with our daughter, but ultimately decided to just speak from my heart in hopes that I can at least get my thoughts out and maybe encourage another mama who may be in the trenches of this journey too) so please please give me grace.
This “layer” is having a special needs child, and ALL that brings with it. I never knew until having our precious Momo how much we have to filter thru the “special needs” world we now live in. Don’t get me wrong- its not a bad thing at all! It’s opened my eyes to so much beauty, shown us life is even more precious than we ever imagined. Seeing the world now thru our Girl’s eyes has changed us and deepened my faith in a way I never knew possible. But anytime you dive into something “different” its a change and it takes a while to figure out. I am still getting use to being a mom of a daughter who’s needs are different than my other children. Not always different – but a lot of times yes. And that’s ok. As much as I want her to fit into the world, I have realized its ok that she doesn’t. I have to find, and a lot of times create the safe and perfect world For her. Because Momo doesn’t have a typical straight forward “one diagnosis” I think it makes it a bit muddier to navigate with people, and I find my self just feeling like “I’m on a island all by myself ” But then I found a few very special friends on that island- they are there with their children too. They have become my lifeline, and so so needed in this journey. Sometimes you need someone who says” yea I get it, my child does this too and this is what I have found that works” Its a delicate balance over here lately at letting our girl do what she desires to do and still protecting her, realizing her limitations, and letting her be her. This world is still new to her. And this world of parenting a child with special needs is still new to me. I stumble a lot, some days I think I drag. Between therapy and specialist visits I remind myself to let her be a child, between new diagnosis and new precautions we now have to take I try to remember that this too will become our new normal. I struggle with what to share and what not to so I don’t sound like a debbie downer or ungrateful or the precious gift we have been given. And I can imagine MOST moms of special needs children struggle with that as well. But sometimes I don’t feel as if I am doing enough. In the world of special needs there is sooooo much now that our children have access to and navigating that can be overwhelming. I recently had a medical professional tell me they thought when we first brought our girl home that she would be having to help us research permanent facilities for our girl. I was shocked, but reminded her how far we have come, and how giving up was never an option to us. She agreed and sees that now. It was a good reminder that even though on a daily basis I feel as if we could be doing more, as a whole we have all come a long way. And this new journey is a lifetime, not a sprint. I recently was on the phone with the founder of a wonderful organiazion that grants adaptive bikes to kids like our Momo, Bikes for kids who otherwise would never be able to ride a bike. He wanted to know our girls story, and as I told him I could not escape from the tears and the overwhelming story that is OUR GIRL. Without her, EXACTLY they way she is, the way God made her- so many lives would have never been touched in the ways I have seen. I know because people tell me, they have been like little bits of light and just the right encouragement we have needed as we try to figure this all out.
But yall- sometimes it’s hard, H A R D , and you won’t hear me say that a lot ( well maybe my mama friends of sn kids do). And I purposely am not being specific on our struggles with our girl because I want to protect my daughter and just share where my heart is, and I imagine where most mamas hearts of special needs kids are too. We are tired, we are weary, we don’t know what the heck we are doing most days. We are different than we use to be and that’s ok. For me this layer has gotten a bit harder lately because of new discoveries, different diagnosis than we expected, add on all that to bringing home a new baby with his new needs and another child who regresses each time a new child is brought into the family and I am toast. HA! Most days this mama goes between being optimistic to wondering how we are gonna manage and worried about what life looks like in the future. Then there is all that joy and beyond precious moments with all my kids that make it easier, and there is that bit of good news that comes in that I get to celebrate. Thank you to those who have cheered along with us on days where can celebrate something like a medicaid card. Family days are more precious these days, vacations and time away are priority more so than ever. Enjoying the little things are my jam. Thanking God for this life, however messy I may be navigating it, HE is a good good Father.