I know that this is technically labeled as a special needs blog, that by definition I am a special needs mom, and that my daughter Addison's chromosome count is considered special and different.
And on one hand I love all the inspirational quotes and "MY SPECIAL LIFE IS ESPECIALLY AMAZING BECAUSE OF SPECIAL NEEDS" portrayals of life floating around Facebook these days in hopes to offset the negative perspectives.
But on the other hand, it really bothers me. Because no matter the uniqueness of the children I have been given, I consider myself a normal mom. And I have two very normal kids who fight and steal empty Daddy's empty Mountain Dew can and spill drops of sticky all over themselves seconds before we're supposed to walk out the door.
I have two children who are very different from each other, a life full of mothering responsibilities, and problems that fall under the category of "my diamond shoes are too tight and my luxury vacation included too much rain" that seem huge to me in the moment but in all reality are product of having an amazingly, happy, NORMAL life. (such as birthday gifts and Zumba classes)
I think that the word "special" is waaaaay overused. I am not a special mom. My family is not a special family. I am a regular mom with two kids close in age who is working on having the kids sit calmly at their picnic table instead of standing on top and rolling off when one child sneaks past an all-too-effective kick to the gut to the other, unlucky sibling.
I struggle with keeping my house clean, figuring out the right balance between snuggling with the babies and teaching them independent play, trying to plan exciting activities that I have a hard time getting the kids out the door to actually go do, figuring out healthy meals that my two toddlers will allow to pass into their mouths, and guilting myself into thinking that I'm not doing enough- that my kids deserve better.
There's nothing special about that.
I have a little boy who loves getting dirty,
learning the ropes of boyhood from Daddy,
hiding in the laundry basket,
eating/snacking/cleaning crumbs off the floor left by sister,
laughing, reading, block building (knocking down), chasing after his sister, and doing whatever she is doing at the moment.
I have a little girl who loves going on pony rides,
snuggling with mommy on the couch to catch a late night Netflix when sleep just won't come,
petting (and kissing) any and all animals,
eating (and stealing from Papa if necessary) ice cream,
hanging out with Daddy,
dancing to music, torturing her brother, hugging her brother, eating chocolate, playing with her friends, and "helping" mommy fold laundry.
There's nothing special about any of that. Just two normal kids in one normal family with a normal (albeit crazy) mommy and daddy.
I'm not going to try to convince you that my life is more amazing than yours because I have a child with special needs. Do I love my children fiercely? Am I happy and thrilled with my beautiful kids? Do I feel extremely blessed in motherhood? Does every day make me fall more in love with them and look forward to the future whatever it may bring? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
But in that same breath, whatever you have been blessed with in the way of children or pets or just life in general is your version of amazing because no two paths are the same and yet all hold the potential for awesomeness depending on our perspective and response to what we are given.
Do I feel that Addison is more special than Carter because she has Down syndrome? No, I don't.
To try to tell you that she is MORE important to me and MORE wonderful than my son would be to isolate her just as as much as someone would say that Carter is MORE perfect because he has the "right" number of chromosomes.
They are equals. One girl and one boy. Two emerging toddlers. Two diaper-clad babies. Two little ones full of just the right combination of twinkling eyes, rosy cheeks, and shy grins. Two perfectly created, amazing children.
As they grow, will the dynamic of our family change? Of course. Will my perspective change as our normal changes? Probably. My perspective as a mother has been constantly evolving as I learn and grow and try not to mess this gig up too badly. I have no idea how I'll feel as a parent with a teenager with an extra chromosome- or an adult.
But for now? I am thankful for another day with my two normal kids, the mountain load of normal work that is expected of me, Monday's normal writer's block, and the normal love that I have for my family. Every day is a tiny piece of my life's puzzle of awesomeness, and I intend to not miss anything- no matter how normal and boring "it" might be.
The only thing that's special around here is....well, the number of times I used the words "special" and "normal" in this blog post.