Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lampy




My little Lamp.  We have some great moments together.  She is so much fun to just hang out with.  Really.  We just hang out, make silly faces and gurgle at each other.  It's a lot like when I was dating her daddy.  One thing I noticed about her early on is how she smiles with her eyes.  You can see a smile coming in her eyes first and I love that.

Now I know she's all of 5 months old, and therefore it would be easy to dismiss any attributes I sense in her already as just nice coincidence or circumstantial, but one thing I feel that this little lady has is patience.  I have found myself thinking quite a bit lately, If she only had hands she could.... and then I fill in the blank with grab at her toys, touch my face, hold my finger, put her binkie back in, hold herself up at tummy time, reach for me when I pick her up, etc, etc.  As her mom of course I'm probably  much more aware of what she would be doing at this age if she had hands and because of that I'm sure I project my own feelings on her from time to time.  I'll think, She must be so bored with always laying on her play mat reaching up for the same few toys.  And when she's batting at a toy I think,  She's got to be frustrated that she can't reach out and just grab that already.  Then the other day as I watched her once again maneuvering a toy with her longer arm trying to pull it towards her mouth it just sort of hit me that she's fine.  I don't know what it was about that moment but the word patience just came to mind and it seemed obvious that I was the one being anxious, not her.  Now of course I know she doesn't know any different, so maybe that's why she doesn't get frustrated.  And I also know she might get more frustrated as she gets older.  But right now, trite as it may sound I find myself in awe of her little baby self.  I just can't tell you how much I love this little one.  

A few weeks ago an old friend from New York wrote to thank me for changing her perception of having a special needs child.  She said that she can tell that Lamp brings so much joy to our family and if she were to find out one day that she was having a special needs child she would no longer think of it as the end of the world.  I appreciated her email and was glad to hear our experience had been uplifting and enlightening for her in that way.  And I could relate because I too once thought having a special needs child would be a pretty dismal situation, but the reality for us has been anything but.  Her email made me think back to when we first found out about Lamp and how we felt about the situation then compared to how we feel now.  When I think back to finding out about Lamp's abnormalities it makes me wonder what was I so afraid of?  I'm not saying I shouldn't have been afraid, but rather trying to pinpoint what my fears actually were.  Certainly I was sad to think about my baby having problems of any sort because don't we all want our children to be as healthy and able-bodied as possible?  Of course.  So there was that.  But I think I was also afraid of the burden.  Having a child with special needs just sounded burdensome.   In essence I worried that the burden of caring for her would outweigh the love.  Now I think it's ludicrous to suggest that we shouldn't have been sad or felt remorse at all, that's not what I'm saying.  What I'm saying is that our love for Lamp has removed any feeling of anxiety or burden that I ever felt in regards to her disabilities.  We love her because she is ours.  Just like we love our older daughter, and just like you love your kids.  She is cherished and adored.  All she had to do was show up.  So I guess that's what I would tell other parents who find out they're having a special needs child:  You will love them.  And that love will be enough.   (I want to be clear in saying that I definitely think there are some families and situations where the burden or hardship that a special needs child presents is much more monumental and should not be underestimated or under-recognized.  I don't want to make it sound like all special needs situations are the same.  They're not.)   

Additionally, don't most children present us with challenges we feel ill equipped to handle?  I mentioned this before, but I find it completely amazing that when we decide to become parents we agree to bring a person into our hearts and homes with no idea of what challenges lie ahead.  It could be anything from extreme tantrums as a toddler, to depression and addiction as a teenager.  So in some ways I have to say we feel lucky.  We know what one of our challenges with one of our children entails.  Could you imagine going to get an ultrasound and being told, Well the head, heart, and spine look fine, but unfortunately we're detecting a nasty case of teenage rebellion.  It looks like your son will get addicted to drugs and alcohol and may even wreck the family car in a near fatal accident while driving under the influence one night.  I'm so sorry... I'll give you guys a minute.  Or Well your daughter is developing normally and everything looks great so far....but there is something we're concerned about.  I mean it's nothing we need to address immediately, but in about 9 or 10 years she's really going to test your patience and will be in need of a serious attitude adjustment.  There would be pro's and con's to getting that kind of information, but the bottom line is could you imagine that information altering the love you have for your children?  Or even worse, would you be more likely to consider abortion because you don't like the challenges your child is presenting you?  (Oh I went there alright...).  Of course not.  We all have challenges with our children, some of us just know about them earlier.  

So to wrap up this sort of rambling post.......(long time later).......well I can't really figure out how to finish this post...so here's to awkward endings!  

Huzzah!

10 comments:

  1. I love this post so much... And you will be blessed for 'going there' on the topic of abortion.

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  2. This was wonderfully written. Perfect. Just like sweet patient Lampy.

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  3. Anonymous12:36 AM

    Great post about perceptions and how we color them. Lampy is beautiful. Thanks too for the link 'just show up'.

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  4. I got tickled when I started reading this post, because the very first thing I noticed about Lamp when I came to your blog - well the first thing was that she was breath-taking beautiful - but the second thing was that she seemed to smile with her eyes.

    Little Miss Lamp is already a blessing to so many, and I can't wait to see what her little patient self does in this great world. I bet that little girl is going to have an enormous impact.

    Loved every word of this sweet post.

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  5. Thanks you guys for all your wonderful comments and support. I love knowing that there are so many people out there loving and doting on little Lamp just like we do.

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  6. To me, this post is just one word: PERFECTION.

    Thanks for sharing :)

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  7. I definitely agree - I am so grateful we AREN'T omniscient. If we knew what trials we or our loved ones would go through ahead of time, we might become so paralyzed by fear that we would never take risks or experience joy.
    And I agree that every special needs circumstance is different. In our journey, we have met many families with what I would call extreme burdens, which has made me grateful for the things Sonja CAN do. Every time she learns something new becomes a beautiful tear-inducing moment. I love her because she works so hard, which you may identify with. :)

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  8. I know you dont know me, but i LOVE your blog, and I loved how you wrote about how every child comes with challenges no matter what. I just had a parent teacher confernece wbout my son and was basically told he was the terror of the class. he has been kicked out of primary twice and I'm at my wits end. But thanks for your words!!!!

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  9. Thank you! As a parent of a special needs child, I could not have said it any better or more perfectly. You nailed it. And you 'went there' and it was perfect!

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