A couple of years ago I had a conversation with another Down Syndrome Mommy with a few more years experience.
She had wise words for me.
I knew at the time this wasn't just another casual conversation at a birthday party.
Something inside me said, "Listen up, and listen well. You need to hear this!"
She humbly offered advice from her plate of perspective and experience with a side of "if I had to do it all over again."
The context was therapy.
At one point, we needed two hands to count all the the specialists in Maddie's life.
In all her wisdom she said, "Don't forget to enjoy them."
I heard her words, and knew they were important, but it took a while for them to permeate.
We had a full schedule of appointments for Speech, Occupational Therapy, Cranial Sacral adjustments, etc.
It wasn't a walk in the park for any of us.
As a mom, we just do what we have to do and sacrifice what we need to for the sake of our children.
I thought this was what life with a special needs child was supposed to be like.
I didn't see it at the time, but Maddie was so frustrated.
I wonder if she could have articulated it, if she would have said,
"Don't fix me, just enjoy me."
Hind sight is 20/20, right?
I can see now that we are in a good, healthy place how all that effort and energy and economic resources spent on helping her may not have been for the best.
I had a crisis of purpose, and God was whispering to my soul.
It began with a casual conversation at a birthday party.
Then, it was the thought, "why don't you homeschool?"
I opened my heart to the idea of homeschool, and it's like when I did, my eyes were then opened to see Maddie the way she was meant to be seen.
Nothing, thus far, has been as rewarding in my motherhood journey as homeschooling.
And it's really not so much about what she's learning (or not learning), it's much more about discovering what makes her tick.
It's noticing that her attention span is very limited from one day to the next and connecting cause and effect.
It's seeing that look in her eye and the joy she feels when she gets it.
And isn't that what life is all about?
I would venture to suggest this idea of trying to fix our children is universal.
It may rear its ugly head more easily in children whose needs are easily identified, but it could be true for any parent.
My friend's words were so wise, I believe they are worth repeating.
"Don't forget to enjoy them!"