Today my girl turns 15. As I take this day to honor her and who she is, I am so gently reminded of how grateful I am to have her in my life.
I have gone through many ups and downs, times of grief, anger, resentment, pity and denial. Among all the emotions I have experienced being her mom, having a child with disability is a continual journey of acceptance and grief. Birthdays for her are sad reminders of the attempted parties when nobody showed up, the screaming-hands-over-the-ears-when-someone-sings, the refusal to open presents in front of people. Today I chose to not go there, to truly celebrate her.
Usually milestones are difficult. The big ones like turning 13, going to middle school and first dances are the tough ones. My youngest asked me today if his sister would be getting her drivers permit; a reminder of the process in which he understands the impact of her disability. As we all go along the journey to better understand ourselves and her, we are reminded of who she is and why she is here.
While thinking of the what IF’s, I determined this: IF she was without a developmental disability,
- I would not have the strength that I do
- I would not have heard the inner voice that speaks so loud
- my boys would not be as patient
- I would not do the work that I do
- the world would be less one amazing individual
- the tears I would cry would be for different reasons
- the joy that her simplicity brings would be lessened
- the minds of my family would still be closed
For all of these reasons and so much more, I am grateful for this day to celebrate her…..her uniqueness, her abilities, her gifts.
Happy birthday girl!