Of all of my titles, Olivia’s Mom is at the top of my favorite list. I love being her mother. It’s a privilege and an honor and has made me who I am today.
But it’s not easy. But motherhood never is, right?
When Olivia was younger, dealing with her syndrome was so damn hard. It was overwhelming and heartbreaking and scary. The newness of being thrown into a world we hadn’t prepared for, the anxiousness over what was to come, the worries about her health and development was just too much. But we made it through and came out stronger. Olivia was our daughter, she was perfect in her own way and we would all be fine.
The school years have been different. Before school began, it was easier to focus on her and her needs and forget that she wasn’t like all of the other kids her age. When she started school, it was harder to ignore. There were IEP meetings, new worries and lots of kids to compare her to. The whole experience as a whole has been great and much better than we anticipated. We made it through and came out stronger. Imagine that.
Lately, it’s really been hitting us hard that Olivia is growing up. As in, she’ll be an adult soon. As in bigger, much deeper worries and anxiousness for her. As in…holy shit. We both feel overwhelmed yet determined. We started setting goals for her over break for the new year. We are going to find her social opportunities. We are going to find her exercise opportunities. We are going to help her grow. She’s had a rough year so far in school, and so have we, but it’s made us wake up in a way. We’ve been so lucky to have school go so well up until now. But this year, we’ve had to start being much more proactive and it’s made us think more and more about the future. She’s not going to be able to just stay in her pjs, watch movies and play with her stuffed animals all day for the rest of her life. We need to create more and more opportunities for her to be independent and find enjoyment in life.
I’m overwhelmed, honestly. Even though I love my job, most days I feel like I need to quit so I can focus on her. I just want to make sure she’s getting everything she needs and then some. Most days I feel like I’m not doing enough. Not even close. Before we know it, she’ll be graduating school and then what? We need to get her, and us, ready. It’s a ton of pressure. And, I’m sorry to say this to those of you who have little ones because I know you feel crazily overwhelmed and praying it gets easier, but it doesn’t. It gets much harder. But we’re in such a better place emotionally and that definitely gets better and easier. I promise. But the worries and the pressure to make sure you are doing everything you should be and can be is much greater. And I’m not even discussing my worries about what will happen to her if anything ever happens to us. That just makes my head want to explode. I’ll save that for another time.
I keep reminding myself that every stage of our journey has seemed impossible and daunting and, yet, we’ve made it through with flying colors and came out stronger. I keep reminding myself that Olivia is amazing and that we will do everything we can to make sure she has a fulfilling life. Even if it’s hard.
Being Olivia’s Mom isn’t easy, but it’s so very worth it.