Do you know how it feels when you’re at the grocery store and you see some other kid throwing an ever-loving tantrum and you look at the Mom and give her a shy smile that says “I know how you feel, I’ve been there.”? Now imagine that your child has an unusual high-pitched voice that makes people take notice. Or that they flap their arms when they’re really excited and people stare. Or they bite when they’re nervous, upset or excited and people get mad. Now imagine that another child comes along and does the exact same things. And then another. And then another. And another. Until you’re in a room filled with kids just like yours…and yours doesn’t seem “different” at all anymore. She’s just normal.
Do you know how good that feels? I do.
I loved being at the conference with all of those other beautiful little angels who were a lot like my Olivia. Contrary to what doctors will tell you on the day of your diagnosis, the “symptoms” do vary. Some of the kids talk pretty well; others are completely nonverbal…although their families know exactly what they’re saying…and most of the Moms can figure it out too. Like when sweet Rochelle took my hand, I knew she wanted to show me something. Or when Cody plugged his nose it meant he wanted to go swimming. Some of the kids could walk and run; others had to be helped or were still in strollers or wheelchairs. Some of the kids were upset easily, some were easy-going. But they were all happy and loved, I can promise you that. That’s something doctors should tell you when you find out–that the kids are all different but they are all loved and happy.
One thing ALL of the kids have in common is that they L-O-V-E LOVE water. These kids are absolute fish. I like to think Olivia loves it so much because when she’s swimming, she’s free. She doesn’t have to work her muscles so hard when she’s swimming. She doesn’t have to balance when she’s swimming. She just lets herself go and she’s free. I wonder if all of the kids feel that way. I loved watching all of the kids swim with abandon. We sure spent a lot of time at the pool.
I don’t often dwell on how Olivia is different in our world. She’s just herself and that’s all that matters. But there are times when I feel as though there’s a spotlight on her and me and a neon sign blinking saying “Different!! Different!! Different!!” This past weekend, I didn’t feel that once. For those 3 days, she was just like everyone else. And that was a great feeling.
In honor of my friends, old and new, I’m having a giveaway today!! As you may or may not know, I am hosting a golf outing next weekend for the 5p- Society. You do not have to donate to win, but any donations would be greatly appreciated. You can click on the Chipin link below to donate easily.
I am giving away a Stella & Dot necklace!! My friend, Christine, sells the jewelry and graciously let me have a party as a fundraiser. Have you seen their stuff? It’s gorgeous and very high quality. We raised over $250 to sponsor a hole and lots of jewelry at the fundraiser!! One of my favorite items is this purty little necklace below. You could wear it, or your little girl could wear it! You can also wear it as a bracelet. How cool is that? I chose the charm that says “Faith” because you KNOW I would never make it through without that!!
To enter the giveaway, please leave me a comment!! If you’d like to make a donation, it would be greatly appreciated as every little bit helps. Any tweets or FB entries or blog mentions about the giveaway and donations would be greatly appreciate but not necessary. Thank you so much!!
Giveaway ends August 11th at midnight!!
I’m so glad that you had those days where she wasn’t different anymore. All parents should have that chance! What an amazing feeling to be surrounded by lovely kids and parents who just understand without saying any words.
I agree with you that the doctors should tell the parents about the love and the happiness that their children will one day have. No one ever told us good stuff but it sure would have given me some hope and something to hold onto!
Funny about being loved… our first pediatrician told us once, “You’re doing ok.” And when I tried to explain that things are hard and not always fun and games (my husband and I like to make jokes), he said, “I see in your eyes how much this boy is loved and how happy he makes you.”
I realized then that my heart was being worn on my sleeve. Others can see and feel what I felt. You are so right. There is love in these children, but there is also love in the parents. And when it’s palpable to others, I feel good about what I’m doing. Maybe, being “different” attracts others to the love they had never experienced or witnessed before. That’s a pretty good thing!
oh how wonderful! i’m glad that y’all got to go to something like that…..no matter what the situation, it’s always nice to be supported and know that you are not alone. and i’m so glad that you point out that each child is different within their diagnosis. my friend’s little boy has developmental delays and the docs just keep trying to squeeze him into a particular idea of behavior. it frustrates her because she just wants them to treat him as an individual case!
Not only were you surrounded by all those beautiful children but also the amazing parents that have known just how difficult and joyfilled life can be.
So glad you had such a great experience! Looking forward to hearing more about it!
I am so glad you got to experience this feeling. I also look forward to hearing more about your conference.