June 10, 2012

Those Others

**Some may think this blog is a little Bridger-dominated.
answer: that is the point.  I want to share a glimpse into the life of a special needs family and for Bridger to share the gifts he has with as many people as he can to help fulfill his purpose and design in his life's journey.

**Some may think our world revolves around Bridger.
answer: My world revolves around my family.  Bridger is a critical part of that revolution and has changed us, refined us and molded each of us, individually and collectively.

**Some may think the other children are forgotten.
answer: They are not forgotten.

Quite the contrary.  I speak for special needs families collectively when I say that because of the strain and stress that a medically complex child places on a family's life, that those mothers lose sleep at night to figure ways to make the most of every minute.  We over compensate to make sure that the other children do not feel the overwhelming strains and pressures of this life style -- but only the good and the love.  I make sure that they get alone time with me, date time with mom and dad, group times as siblings without Bridger and family time that makes them glad he is part of our family and not the center ring of our circus.   As a consequence, they have learned gratitude and appreciation.  They do not take for granted the sight of seeing their mom or dad at their basketball game.  They act like they have won the lottery when we take them on a mom AND dad date.  They have come to expect special times that they can open up and share their feelings.

Evie and I led the Brownie troop activity a few months ago.  We invited an author to come present her book on disabilities with her special daughter.  Before the author spoke, Evie presented a report she had prepared about children with special needs.  Before her presentation, I invited her up to stand next to me as I spoke to the Brownies about kids who have disabilities in their life -- not the ones we often speak of that have the diagnosis, but the other kids we don't talk about that have disabilities in their lives -- the siblings.  I talked about Evie and all that she endures so patiently, all that she loves and accepts and sacrifices and how it has made her such a sweet daughter, shaped her into the best sister and transformed her into being the most wonderful friend.  Her face was beaming like she had just won an Oscar and she was bursting out of her Brownie vest.

Mothers like us cannot give in to time-sucking activities like pinterest, facebook, pouring over our hair or wardrobes, needless complaints or negative energy because we need every.  single.  minute.  We have enough already that consumes all of our daylight (and much of our moonlight as well) - specifically 20 medical appointments in the past 12 days and the accompanying 7+ hours of administrative work with insurance that follows closely behind.

Though my journey continues without any knowledge of the freshest crafty decor, without knowing the latest happenings of 316 "friends", with severely neglected hair and my circa 2001 Walmart jeans, my heart is full to know that those other precious four are never forgotten.  In fact, the beauty of this special journey would not have been near as tender and refining without witnessing them as a part of it.

Years ago I posted THIS.  I marvel as I read it again.  I had hoped and anticipated a future time that Sadie would be the one Bridger would crawl to, that Evie would be the one that Bridger would say his first word to, and that Lance would one day share a doughnut with his brother.  Fast forward to the present and indeed, Bridger moves for Sadie as they cut a rug together that is worthy of any dance-off.  One of Bridger's first words was not to Eva, it was for Eva.  His little mouth hollers for "E-Bee" from all over the house, and Lance and Bridger regularly eat off of each other's plates (as long as it is ice cream, pancakes or Lucky Charms).  Some may see these as developmental coincidences.  But where others choose to see coincidences, I choose to see miracles - miracles that those siblings created that I could not.

A lifetime of perfect mothering could not have formed the hearts in these others that just 5 years with their special brother has.  But hopefully, I will be able to take credit in shaping those hearts just a little in between all the therapy, sleepless nights, medical appointments, hospitalizations, IEPs, tube feeds, vomiting, etc. that come along with this life.  Those four others, they are special too.