I have had the privilege to be your mother for your whole life, and then joy of joys, I had the privilege of being there as you were granted the privilege of motherhood for yourself. It gladdens my heart to watch you as you tote, wag, cuddle, and care for my beautiful grand-daughter.
And now you have been told that she is behind on some of her major developmental “milestones”. You worry about her. And you question yourself. You think you should have done more of this…or less of that…or whatever. Well, I’ve had the opportunity to live long enough to see the child-rearing process come to fruition, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.
You and your cousin were only three months apart. My sister was a stay-at-home mom and I was a single parent, forced to leave you every day to go to work. I absolutely hated it. But, I tried to make up for it by spending all the free time that I could with you, doing lots of learning activities. I was so tickled because by kindergarten you already knew all of your “ABC’s”, numbers, and a few other things like that. Then I learned that your cousin was already reading books. Talk about “mother failure”! I became convinced that you would forever be doomed to the task of trying to catch up with your peers, subjected to a life of squalor and struggle, all because of your loser mother and her shortcomings. Well, we both know how that turned out! Somewhere along the way you learned what you needed to know, in spite of me! There are some things that can only be seen from the top of the mountain.
But even if things don’t progress as we would like, there is much to be learned and gleaned. I KNOW that you remember the struggles that our family faced when your brother was younger. They lasted for years: The scary “possible” diagnosis, all of those doctor and counseling appointments, and wondering just how “normal” his life would be. I was so worried and sad…so sad for him…my baby boy! What would his life be like? Would he be able to even have a normal life? I’ve always wanted my children to live up their potential, but with some conditions, it’s hard to know what that potential is. My heart ached for him.
I have to confess, there was a period of time when my heart ached for me, too. I LOVE being a mother…I loved both of you before you were even born. The day each of you was born was the "best" day of my life! But just like the fact that I would like to live in a location that actually has seasons, I had wanted my life to have seasons, too, each to be savored for its own unique beauty. When we were told that he MIGHT end up being with us forever, I was a little frustrated. The prospect of an endless summer loomed large before me.
“Why is this happening to us?” I asked God one day. “Why am I having to go through this trial?”
He didn’t answer right away…in fact, He didn’t answer for quite a good while. But when the answer came, it was clear as a bell.
“It is not YOUR trial. It is HIS. HE’S the one who has to live with this every second of every day. HE’s the one who gets made fun of at school. It’s HIS trial.”
If that realization wasn’t profound enough, the next part totally changed my perspective and my life: “You are just the person I placed in his life to help him endure it.”
I was humbled that God had enough faith in me to even entrust me with such a task. Doesn’t He know how inept I am at so many things? Surely, there must have been someone smarter, more patient, more EVERYTHING than I am. But there I was. So armed with this new perspective, I tailored my attitude and my life in order to help your brother endure his trials and to helping him find his place in the world. My new knowledge didn’t mean that the struggles disappeared, but this, plus other revelations, have helped me to see being his mother as the privilege that it is. The lessons that his particular trials were designed to teach were HIS to learn; I had other lessons to learn, but I was here to help him when he needed help. And although it DID take him a little longer than some, he IS on his own, doing very well at his job, and finally having the success and the friends and fun for which he has so long desired.
I have faith in our girl, that she will be just fine…and I will do all that I can to help with this. But I also have faith in you…to be her mother. Don’t doubt yourself. Paisley was sent to you because you have whatever it is that she needs to help her in this journey that we call life. And the day will come that you, Paisley, and her Dad will stand on TOP of the mountain, hand-in-hand, and say, “All is well!”