Saturday, January 21, 2012

Serediptiy: Part II


1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck

And then, a blog was born.

A blog I wrote to share the story of M and his sister, Miss J.  Initially, I was only going to write during the weeks I was waiting for the results of M's genetic tests.  I was going to write for the sake of occupying my mind.  The results arrived and I kept writing.  I write now, not to occupy my mind, but because I have discovered I love it.

Let me say that again:  I love it.  I love to write.

Let me explain why this feels so important to me.  In the past seven years, since the birth of M, I have let go entirely of who I once was.  I let go of everything that made me who I was and I became Special Needs Mom.  (Because isn't that what a mother of a child with special needs does?  Devote herself 100% to the care of her child?)   Genetically speaking, I had messed up my son. I couldn't fix that, but I could spent the rest of my life proving that I can be a good mother.  The bad part about morphing into Special Needs Mom is that it became my only thing.  My defining thing.

The moment M was born, I instantly became the mother of a child with special needs.  I never had even one minute of 'normal' with my son.  Not one.  M exited my womb and took up residence in  the womb of the NICU.  He wasn't placed in my arms immediately after birth. There was no first picture of Mr A and I , holding our new baby, looking exhausted but overjoyed. There were no excited phone calls to friends and family members.  There were no happy visitors. M's birth was quiet, dark and somber. Such a stark contrast to the birth of Miss J, one that I can easily say was the happiest day of my life.

We were immediately thrown onto a rollercoaster of testing, hospitalizations, medical appointments, therapy sessions, IEPs.  It has been draining...emotionally, physically and financially. Seven years in there is no end in sight. We have not yet reached a point where we can exhale.  Not yet.

I threw myself into M's care.  He became my 24/7.   Endless hours in therapy.  Hours at home practicing what the therapists told us to practice.  Hours in the car driving to and from doctor's appointments.  Hours on the phone fighting with the insurance company.  Many, many hours.

And I still had Miss J.  She needed to be taken care of as well. I made sure I never missed a beat with her.  I made sure she had her dance lessons and music lessons.  I made sure she had her playdates and sleepovers.  I made sure I was present for every school event, music recital and dance performance.  I was her room mom at school and her Sunday School teacher at church. I did everything I could to fill in the gaps that I thought she might have felt her brother created.

For seven years, this was my life.  My only life. Until I found the essay.

The essay I wrote as a child that inspired me more than thirty years later.  Inspired.  I cannot remember the last time I felt inspired.

Nine Year Old Me knew it then:  If you have a family, you will still work and write. 

Nine Year Old Me understood that both were possible.  Forty year old me did not.  I felt that I had finally given myself permission to do something besides being Special Needs Mother.  That essay feels like a key.  A key to a door that might possibly open to a new life for myself.  (To even type the word myself still sounds so incredibly selfish to me)

An essay, assigned by my fourth grade teacher, folded and thrown into a box and shoved into the attic and saved by my mother for over thirty years made a 1,000 mile journey in my parent's car and ended up in my basement.  Read by me, sitting alone on the basement floor.  A happenstance chain of events that gave me something to call my own. Serendipity.

This quote from The Beatles "Blackbird" is for me:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

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