Why did I never see what was really in front of me? Why did I hang onto the stupid notion that everything was OK? See I have always hung onto (gripped for dear life)the fact that cognitively Miss T was fine, smart, clever even. In my state of delusion I felt that if she was OK cognitively than she would get through school and come out and be able to independent and live her life. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Not to be, in fact those words I least wanted to hear were uttered "intellectual impairment" by the developmental pead.
There, the words I least wanted to put out in the world because they represent so much of what I fear for her are out there for all to see. To type them is easier than to speak them. Because to speak them, I would have to choke on them to get them out.
What is it that I fear so much? I fear the sadness of that comes with another loss of some of the hopes for normality for my little girl. I fear the venerability that will inevitably come. That Miss T will be at the mercy of the general community. At times when she gets older, that there will be those that understand and are kind and accommodating but on the other hand there will be those that will use and manipulate her impairments for their own benefit. I fear the the whole future for her now more than ever. I fear explaining it all to her.
I know deep down that we are lucky to have the outcomes that we do. For one, we got to bring our baby girl home. She walks and talks and is happy. Sometimes I think it is just me wanting more for her (and for me) that fuels my unhappiness with the steps back. The truth is that I really want what I can't have - I want the brain damage to go away and to have a normal, happy child that doesn't have to suffer.
We have just gotten back from a short, beautiful break to the coast. I think I have mentioned before here how lucky we are to have such truly magnificent beaches on our door step. The girls adore the beach, even Miss T with her ginger hair and pale skin under loads of sunscreen and neck to knee swimmers thinks that it is grand. The girls are always a joy at the beach because who can possibly be in a bad mood eating fish and chips under the big pine trees (that I too feasted under as a child) with a gentle breeze, the sound of the waves the promise of a swing and a swim to look forward to. Well we did find some grumblers and do you know what they were grumbling loudly about - children! I could not believe what I was hearing. How dare children during school holiday time be enjoying the beach. "Make sure you find somewhere to sit with no annoying children dear" Mrs Grumpy says to Mr Grumpy. "I can't possibly stand the noise" Mrs Grumpy goes on. "Bloody children" Mr Grumpy chimes in. So they sit next to the putrid rubbish bins instead because that is the only area that is not infested with laughing, joyful, happy just to be people under the age of 18.
I found it so sad that children doing what they do best - enjoying themselves and playing are looked on so disdainfully by some members of the community. I sometimes feel that they are seen as second rate citizens that should go back to the days of being seen and not heard. How sad that children's love for happiness (for really that is what we all want at the end of the day) and joy not celebrated and embraced. How do children grow up to good community members if from the day they can remember they are put down by others for the life stage they are lucky to be at. I don't think that Mr and Mrs Grumpy realised that by the time they are elderly it will be those peace destroying children who they once hated so much that will be the nurses, doctors and carers who are looking after them. If children can not be children at a park by the beach during school holidays - where can they?
Posted by littlema at 4:12 PM
When does it stop? When do you know that you are there, that you have done everything you can possibly do to make your child's life the best it can be? When do you know that you've found the balance between plain normal life and intervention?
Miss T has had six appointments in the last week. I kind of wonder though in the middle of the night does it truly change the outcome in the end. Am I sacrificing her right to a normal childhood for the better? Miss T is so excepting of it all now but I don't know if she always will be. Sometimes I think the irrational part of me is waiting to stumble upon that doctor/therapist/teacher who can fix her. I sounds ridiculous even to me to read it back because I know there is no cure for PVL. I tell her story again and again but the answers remain almost stagnant. Am I just disappointed because I have the unrealistic expectations that someone may be able to offer me what I am ultimately looking for - normalcy, for the hard parts of Miss T's life to finish?
We've taken a few steps backwards at the moment. I knew they were coming. They catch in the back of my throat and are too big for me at the moment to put into words. The denial part of me thought she had had her deal but as she gets older the true impact of the prematurity, the IVH, the PVL, the ataxic CP is rearing its head. Miss T is starting to realise that life is different for her. How do I make that difference the best it can be for her?
We've had our fair share of "nevers" while parenting Miss T. Right from her IVH and diagnoses and through different therapists. She'll never do this and she'll never do that. Hm, really? Do I really want to propose to any of my children a pathway that is full of boxed in, labeled predictions?
Last night on the 7.30 report on the ABC there was a fantastic, hopeful story of Caitlin McOmish. After contracting mumps as a small child she ended up with meningitis and lost the ability to walk and talk. She also had up to 30 seizures a day. Her parents were told that she would never go to a normal school. She has now graduated with a PhD and is a neuroscientist. Her research involves looking at environmental enrichment and its effect on brain disorders. Well worth a look at.
Her story and research shows me that sometimes I am on the right path when I choose to go against the never predictions. I'll believe something when I see it up until then I will give Miss T all the opportunities in the world to be whoever she can.
Posted by littlema at 10:08 AM
This is my second Father's Day without my Dad. I can't escape a sense of longing for my Dad this year. The radio and the letter box seem to be full of warm and fuzzies about Dads and how to show them that you love them. What seems so sad to me is that we wait for a sanctioned day from the materialistic powers to make us show our love and gratitude for those that we love. I wish I had another day, any old day to tell Dad how much I love him and how much I am grateful for all he was to me. I wish I had shown him more kindness and love when I had the chance.
I spent today with other people's Fathers but my own was in my thoughts all day.
Posted by littlema at 3:08 PM
Well, Miss T is now 7! She turned 7 on Monday. What a day, she had a fantastic time. I love birthdays. In our house it is not so much a birthday, as a birth festival that seems to last a week. The best part of her birthday she said was going to New Farm Park. Not the presents or the trip to the theme park but just hanging out at the park. Made me see that the hype and the fanfare is somtimes more about me and less about my daughter's needs and desires.
I look at Miss T now at the age of 7 and I feel I have come to peace much more with her early birth and all that transpired as a family for us since. I know there is still much in store for us but I feel a sense of acceptance to it all. Not that I don't feel remorse for what has happened to Miss T but the fact that I am powerless to change the past and all I can do is my best in the present moment for my daughter because really that is the only way I can ever help her.
Posted by littlema at 8:02 PM