Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hey jealousy...

...not the Gin Blossom's song. This morning we took Abigail to practice for "The Nutcracker" ballet performance coming up. I was sitting next to two moms of other girls in Abigail's class. Abigail is the youngest girl in her class, but I think both of these girls are around 3.5.
Anyway, as it always is with parenting, the subject of sleeping came up. There was discussion of the woes of kids who won't go to bed early, and who get up way too early. We don't really have this issue with Abigail so when it came to my "turn" to complain I just smiled and told them how Abigail is a great sleeper.
And then came the normal responses, "You are so lucky," and "It will be over soon." I took a deep breath and laughed a little like I knew. But that's not how I wanted to respond.
I wanted to tell both of them that although Abigail is a great sleeper, if she has a rough night it's because she's in pain. I wanted to tell them that after four MRI's and more doctor's appointments than I can count at this point that it seems like I could use something like a good sleeper to balance it all out.
I wanted to say lots of things, but I didn't. I am very aware (and often told) how easy Abigail is. I know that she has a layed back personality, is a great sleeper, was easy to potty train, and so on. I also know that none of those things are what truly make a parent's life easy or hard.
Most of the things parent lament are phases. Lots of them are hard phases, but still things that kids will outgrow.
But I promise you that I have gotten up with Abigail well before take her to appointments. I have watched her fight sleep...with an anesthesiologist holding a mask over her face. I have listened to Abigail throw a the doctor pokes her to take blood.
So remember when you are comparing your child to someone else's who is "easy" that you may not know what is going on behind the scene. I wouldn't want to trade any part of our life with someone else's. I just want people to remember that things aren't always what they seem.

One of my favorite high school teachers used to say this to us all the time, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle." Remember that next time you get ready to tell someone how lucky they are and how hard you have it.


  1. thanks for saying that. i've been struggling with the same thing, wanting to tell someone just what i think to the 'you're so lucky, she's easy' comments.

  2. When they complain that you're lucky because she's a good sleeper, tell them. They need to know. So they can count their lucky stars. I tell anyone when they come off with 'you're so lucky' speech.

  3. Oh man can I relate. I dropped James off at school the other day, when I drove into the round about and opened the door for him to jump out an aide was there to help him out, she looked into the car and saw Annie asleep and said "how in the world do you do that, I'm so jealous!' Are you kidding? This kid gets maybe 4 hours of sleep a night and that's with meds. plus, I know she didn't realize this by looking at her perfect sleeping body but she doesn't walk or talk or use her hands! You want to tell me that you have it harder with your "typical" kid? I wanted to say that but did I? No, I just smiled and said "I'm blessed"! I always proceed with caution when talking to mom's now and I give myself an "easy out" if the conversation upsets me too much - I can understand some of it, I used to be a "typical mom" too - it's only now that I can see how easy I had it. Hugs! Keep smiling! You and Abigail are better for it, as tough as it is!

  4. Totally relate. :) Although having Clayton has taught me typical kids can be difficult too. I think we should encourage each other to open up about the reality of special needs children when the opportunity comes along. Bentley was a very easy baby, and I recognize that...but I try to share the difficulties.....walking late, not talking, probably won't potty train for a couple years still...the cognitive difficulties....I'm forever thankful to have him and thank God for the blessing of a child that changes my priorities from worldly to Godly.... but it can be difficult and I have this conflicting desire for people to see him as "easy" so people will stop aborting children diagnosed with DS, and a desire for people to have compassion and understanding that it can be a lot of work. :) I think kids are a lot of work...Clayton has reallyh taught me that! I do mourn for Abigail the amount of pain she experiences and pray for her release from that pain. Keep being a Mommy who connects with her child even though it is so difficult to endure that with her. And let people in your world- its good for us all!