Being a parent is inconvenient.
No matter which angle of the layered cake you slice it from, you end up with a plateful of having to put someone before yourself at the most inopportune of times.
You're right in the middle of pursuing your dreams. You're so close you are already visualizing yourself on the other side. THAT MOMENT is when your child will need you to set it aside for them.
I think the reason so many people are scared of having a child with special needs is because it is even MORE inconvenient than normal parenting.
One of my earliest fears after getting Addison's diagnosis was "But she'll never move out of our house. She'll live with us forever." Inconvenient. Therapies? Inconvenient. Having to work extra hard for acceptance and a future for my child with delays? Inconvenient.
What about what I want to do with my life? What about my big hopes and dreams?
The truth is, because I am now a parent all of that has to come second to the little people entrusted to me no matter what they need. Sometimes it feels easier than others. Sometimes it feels just plain wrong and unfair. But that doesn't change what my children need from me- to be put before everything else in my life- career included. Isn't that what we want from our own parents?
These past few months as I was getting closer to my dream, I wondered what my response would be if Addison's monthly blood work suddenly came back positive with leukemia.
Without fail, the thought always brought with it a healthy dose of annoyance that it would happen now. And then I was flooded with shame that I would be annoyed by her needing me at such a vulnerable time even though it meant putting my own plans on hold.
Who am I to decide that something is more important than my child?
I am a mother first. Writer second.
As I continued to ponder this, I thought of ways that I subconsciously placed my kids into the "inconvenient" category even on a daily basis.
Whining about how hard it is to go anywhere with two babies/basically telling them that they're ruining my social life because they are an inconvenience to me.
Sitting down at my computer to work for a minute while they're playing and not wanting to acknowledge the pudgy hands on my leg, the pouty face resting against my hip, the "play with me mommy" whine because I was busy.
Recently I was stung by someone making me feel like an inconvenience, so and it made me think that perhaps I was doing the same thing to my children. The answer was not pretty. It all comes down to selfishness and wanting to put me in front of them.
And that's not right.
I never want my children to think that something is more important to me than them. It's not easy. I don't always like it, and sometimes honestly it hurts. But it's something that I'm working on because it is important.
Parenting involves a lot of dying to myself and adapting to entirely new priorities. No matter what stage my children are in- this doesn't change. I don't want to have to apologize to my children for an entire childhood of inconvenience and hurt twenty years from now. Every day I want them to feel integral in my life- important, necessary, wanted.
When they look back over their childhood, I want them to remember that yes, Mommy and Daddy did have times that they had to work, so other people watched them from time to time. But the overall memories will include the knowledge that if they needed us- we were there. If they worked toward something big- we supported them. If they struggled- we were there to counsel and encourage them.
I want them to remember a childhood infused with love and happiness because their parents sacrificed everything for them
even when it was inconvenient.
That's my new hope and dream.