Parenthood can be a lot of work at times, especially with children with disabilities, but I always prefer to see the joyful side of parenthood for the following reasons:
- The sight of a sleeping child, no matter what age, melts my heart. We always take pictures of our children sleeping on Christmas Eve, so I have a collection of how their sweet sleeping faces look as they age. It never ceases to affect me and I smile at each and every one.
- When a child is in a school performance, from pre-school graduation, school plays, award ceremonies, right up to college graduation my pride soars. Tears always come to my eyes as my well dressed for the occasion child “does his/her thing.” Each child’s “thing” may be different…Steven, especially in the early years with his sensory integration deficit, would actually hide under the chair, (or the pew in church as was the case when he was supposed to make his first communion.) Francis would walk slowly looking down due to his visual impairment, and he would be hesitant about who to go to until he got close enough to see them. Dinora would “strut her stuff”, with us all excited at her accomplishment. Angel would put on his best “game show host” face and wave to the audience as if the event was entire for him. Marie would…well, I’ll save that for a later blog because that is a real interesting story!
- Each time a child learns a new skill, I am overcome with joy at their accomplishment. Not just the learning to walk or talk part, but the entire route to independence they take. My 2 oldest live on their own, have jobs and pay their own bills. Just the fact that they can pay their own bills causes me to leap in the air with happiness.
- Sitting around the table eating dinner together usually, (depending on how the kids are getting along,) fills me with the peace. I like sitting at the head of the table with my husband at the other end, and the kids in the middle. Holidays and special occasions are always extra nice when all 5 children are there.
- I feel a happiness only a mother could feel every time a child presents me with a gift they have made for me. Steven made me a wonderful 2 foot tall vase shaped like and alligator, (his favorite animal.) What mother wouldn’t be thrilled to receive an alligator vase? The color even matches the colors in my kitchen! Angel’s, who is 15 years old, has a child-like “part” that makes me jewelry. He presents it to me with great flourish, It is always gaudy and made of huge plastic “crystal” beads. When I wear it, I feel like I am wearing a chandelier, but I wear it with pride, (until I can get in my car alone and take it off on my drive to work.)
- Taking the children out for an activity like bowling, horseback riding, or go cart riding allows me to have an excuse and have fun like a kid myself.
- The times the children prepare breakfast for me is especially joyful, (even though the eggs are tough, the toast is burnt, and the tea has no sugar. Plus, the kitchen is a huge mess!) I always look on the bright side, and even if my eggs aren’t sunny side up, I am sunny inside!
- The biggest joy I get out of parenthood is the fact that I do not have time to clean the house…taking care of all of the children’s special needs, all of the therapy, counseling, medical, extra-curricular activities does not leave me any time to clean! We’ve long ago learned to settle for a “picked up house”, not a spotlessly clean house, (or even a “pretty clean” house.) I feel no guilt at all. I would much rather be spending time helping my children than washing the kitchen floor. I will never lay when I lay on my deathbed I wished I’d kept my house cleaner! There are so many more important things to do with the kids, so, sorry, don’t expect my house to be real clean! Ah, the joy of no housework!!!!
Parenting is a lot of fun and can be filled with joy. I try to always focus on the positives and downplay the negatives. It is the only way I remain sane!!!!