I read another moms blog today that made me sad. The entire post was about grieving for the mom she could have been if her child was born without challenges/disabilities. Her child was 5. I felt sad because I can't imagine how it is to spend 5 years wondering what could-have-been and mourning the child I didn't get. 5 years. Wow.
I frequently think back to the first year of Phoenix's life and the heart-wrenching grief I experienced. I wonder if it was so difficult because of how fully I embraced the sadness. It was difficult for me to focus on much else and in the end I needed to see a counsellor to move out of it. But when I had thought every thought about her future, and felt every emotion, and processed what it all meant to me, I was done. It was gone. I could move forward free of the what-if's and what-should-have-beens. Because these have to be the most pointless, self-defeating thoughts that we, as mothers of children with disabilities, can have. These thoughts are toxic, and soul damaging and they keep us from fully embracing the child that we have been given.
I also read this quote from another mom who has two children with DS. "Down syndrome is not bad at all. It’s not ideal, and most of the time it’s unexpected and unwanted. But it brings many good things for us." This is my experience of Down syndrome. It's not ideal. It was very, very, unwanted. But it has brought me and Husband more happiness and joy then we could ever have imagined.
Every single day I look at the wonder that is my child and feel grateful for her existence. I love her and embrace her fully. Her challenges, her delays, her strengths and her quirky little personality. I embrace her. There are no could-have-beens or what-ifs. There is only living in the moment of life with an almost-3 year old who drives me nuts and fills me to the brim with happiness, often within moments of each other.
I feel equally grateful that I have been able to leave the could-have-beens in the past, where they belong. It has allowed me to enjoy and fully appreciate the experience of raising Phoenix. I hope that other mom gets there too. It's a beautiful place to live.