June 12, 2013

Grace Under Fire

   Friday was the last day of school.  Growing up it was always a tradition in my family to go out and celebrate the last day of school.  So I am carrying on this tradition with my girls.  I pick Chloe up from school (1/2 day) and ask the girls what they would like to do to celebrate the end of the school year.  Chloe yells out to go to the park and Aubrie yells that she wants to go shopping at Target and then get some pizza for lunch.  Aubrie makes me laugh.  What 3 yr old wants to go shopping at Target?  Only my girls.  I agree to both.  First we went to Target and bought bathing suits and then we ate in there food court, which was pizza.  Then off to the park we went.
   We arrived at the park, Chloe and Aubrie take off.  I love this particular park because it is fenced in, only one way out and you can see everything, so I feel safe with them taking off on there own.  I'm sitting on a blanket watching the girls and attempting to exercise Sadie.  She was having nothing to do with the exercising (probably had to do with the heat) and she was letting me know how much she hated it.  I gave up that idea.  So I start one of my favorite pass times... people watching.  This pass time drives my husband nuts, but it fascinates me.  People are so interesting.
   I start to watch some toddlers.  This was probably not the best choice of people for me to be watching.  I get sad sometimes watching Sadie's peers learning to walk and climb and discover all these fun new things in the world that Sadie will eventually learn just not at the same pace as her peers.  I start to get tears welling up in my eyes and start to get all emotional.  I hate doing this in public and don't want to make a scene so I look away.   I pull myself together by watching my girls and how much fun they are having.  But I keep finding myself getting pulled back over to watching these little toddlers.  Then I start listening to their moms.  Almost all of them where complaining about having to chase their toddler, tell them no all the time, and how they are becoming so defiant, and how they are sick of fighting with their toddler.  I was honestly getting mad at these moms.  They were getting mad at their toddlers for doing toddler things.  Things that children their age are supposed to be doing.  If only they knew!!
   Then a mom was walking by after chasing her toddler down and decided to stop and talk to me and comment on Sadie.  This is our conversation.

Woman:  "You are so lucky that you don't have a toddler to chase down and fight with on this hot day.  You can just sit and relax.  But just you wait (shaking her finger at me) your time is coming.  That sweet, little sleeping infant will be off and running and she will fight you on everything".

I was quiet at first, didn't say anything.  Again tears were welling up in my eyes and I got a lump in my throat.  After a few minutes I swallowed that lump and said to her.

Me:  "I have a toddler.  She is also a strong fighter".

Woman:  "Oh, do you have more kids at home"?

I look at Sadie and smile.

Me:  "Nope, this is my toddler.  This is Sadie and she is 19 mo old". (Remind you, that her size is maybe that of a 10-12 mo old, and her hypotonic muscles make her seem younger)

The lady looked at me confused.

Woman:  "Whats wrong with her"?

Then I got mad.  I wanted to scream NOTHING IS WRONG WITH HER! Instead I bit my tongue and said sweetly and smiling,

Me: "There is nothing wrong with her, God just made at her differently and I thank him for doing so".

She gave me the weirdest look.  I was going to end it there, hoping she was going to walk away, but she just kept standing there, staring at my daughter.  Again I was getting irritated and mad and wanted to tell her to stop staring and walk away.  Then it dawned on me that God was using Sadie to teach another lesson in life.

Me:  "You see Sadie is a fighter just like your toddler.  Except she fights to learn to control her head, sit up, crawl, walk, roll over, eat, pick up a toy, sign words, regulate her temperature on hot days like today.  All the milestones and things that your little one can do naturally, my baby has to fight for.  When she is sick she even has to fight to remember to breath.  So I thank God everyday that she is a fighter.  Because if she wasn't a fighter, she would not be here with me".

The woman looked at me with tears in her eyes and apologized.

Me:  "Why are you apologizing?  There is nothing to be sorry for.  Sadie has taught me more lessons in her 19 mo of life then I have learned in my 35 yrs of life, she has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, she has taught me how to fight and advocate and the true sense of selflessness.  I am a better person because of her.  I am a better mom to my other girls because of her.  There is absolutely no reason for you to be sorry.  In fact, you can learn something from her.  Turn around and go hug your toddler and celebrate every milestone that she has met and celebrate every milestone that she will meet and appreciate the toddler that she has become".

By this time the woman is balling her eyes out.  This truly was not my intention.  But sometimes people just need an eye opener to really appreciate what they have.  The woman leans down and hugs me, she can't say anything cause she is crying and just turns and walks away.  I watch her walk away, go pick up her little girl, hug her and start playing with her instead of yelling at her.

   As I sat there watching my girls swing, I look over at this sweet toddler sleeping and can't help but smile.  I say a quick prayer and thank God for these Angels in my life.
   But the story does not end there.  There is more.  As I'm in my own world thinking about everything that has happened this school year I feel a tap on my shoulder.  It was a young mom holding a small baby, with a 2 yr old little girl at her feet.  It was obvious that this woman had been crying.  I immediately asked if she and her kids were ok.  She replied yes.  Then she proceeds to tell me that she watched and overheard my conversation with that other woman and continues to tell me her story with her little baby and that he has special needs.  My heart ached for her.  Not because of what was going on with her baby because I knew he would be ok and filled with love from his family, but because I just remember the first few months of Sadie's life and how everything was so unclear and so emotional and seemed like such a hot mess.  Who am I kidding, it still is unclear, but I have a different feeling surrounding that unclear feeling.  It's like I am at peace with that unclear feeling.  I know that makes no sense to most people, but I'm sure there is someone out there that understands that.  At the end of the conversation she told me thank you for teaching her grace under fire and that she hopes she can handle situations with a similar confidence, grace and love as she continues her journey.
   Once upon a time this would have been an extremely uncomfortable conversation.  Both of the conversations with these 2 women would have been uncomfortable.  But now...I have Sadie to thank for this whole new set of confidence in myself and this whole new view of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Tammi, I had my first experience with the uncomfortable stares and silent confusion this weekend. I didn't say anything at the time, I just kept going on with my day and when I got home I remembered reading this post. I wish I remembered it then!! You responded so wonderfully to the first woman, I can only hope to be half as graceful in my experiences with Ronan. I just had to come back and let you know, again, your blog has inspired me to be a better mom.