I've hidden myself in a bit of a corner lately. A corner that I've been perfectly fine occupying.
This corner is occupied by the two little ones that make me a mother. But I think what's more noticeable is what's absent in this corner. And that would be Down syndrome, any sort of reference to "specialness", or focus on difference.
In this corner, we stay in the moment which these days includes frustrations from having two kids that are close in age passing sickness back and forth. I snark about normal motherhood woes, and revel in the fact that I'm just another mom. My children are just two toddlers who look remarkably like twins. I dress them in matching pajamas and smile at the fact that while Carter is chunkier, Addison is a touch taller which makes the same size pajamas fit them a little differently.
This corner is always a mess because no matter how much I "put away" with my feeble organizational attempts, the corner's other residents are masters of "scatter" and "spread" and "swing from the curtains like Tarzan" (yes this really happened). But I laugh and smile (after I'm finished with my by-invitation-only pity party) and then write down my thoughts in hopes that someone somewhere will want to read my musings on motherhood and perhaps find it smile-worthy or comforting even if it's entirely different from their own journey.
Happiness and contentment find their way into my corner more often than not. There's a supreme sort of joy in finding the sparkle in the mundane. I don't live a fabulously exciting life. I don't live a perfect life. But I do live a real life that includes peaks and valleys all its own. Riding that roller coaster is my own unique version of fabulously exciting. And I laugh at myself accordingly for referring to laundry, dishes, and dirty diapers as a roller coaster.
But every once in a while something will jump into my corner of safety to remind me that blinding myself to the difference in my life and pretending that it's normal is not the end of the story.
When Addison was around cousins a few weeks ago who are the same age (or even younger), she couldn't communicate and behave as a peer. When I think about Addison beginning preschool in a couple of months in a EEE classroom that isn't even pretending to be mainstreamed. When I see my fifteen month old son have an explosion of development that leaves his almost three year old sister behind. When all I want to do is find my daughter an adorable pair of winter boots to keep her toes warm in the snow but NONE of them seem compatible with her orthotics. When I see other families with children the same distance apart as mine and yet the older child can be slightly independent by this stage with a small version of helpfulness.
And even though I should know that these remembrances of difference are coming, I always forget to watch for them. I get so wrapped up in the normalcy of mothering a little girl that I stop thinking about the things that are necessary for my daughter but aren't reality for most other little girls. These surprise moments at first were jarring and horrible, but now they're just gentle bumps in a well-laid path leading somewhere wonderful.
When the bump is finished, I hide myself back in my little corner. I dive back into the moments of good and pretend that my new normal is everyone's normal because somehow it makes it easier to think that I'm not alone.
And today's normal? What to fix for dinner? (I'm thinking homemade pizza with portabella mushrooms or barbecue meatloaf.) Will I get my chapter written before the children awake? If I get through folding all of that laundry, can I get it put away before the children unfold it? Is hubs going to give his cold that he got from the children back to them? What's the best way to clean a painted wall that's been plastered in oatmeal? Should I do Jillian Michael's 30 day shred today or just walk around all day in my workout clothes again feeling strangely fit just wearing them?
And in my corner full of my petty little worries about keeping my home a happy one, I push the thoughts of difference far away because there just isn't room for them. Does that make me a bad special needs mom? Does that make me a horrible advocator? By refusing to give Down syndrome the spotlight in our lives, am I refusing a part of Addison?
There is a time to stand up and advocate. There is a time to wave the special needs mom flag. But then there is also a time to just live and enjoy the specialness entrusted to me without surrendering every detail to the world.
And that's when I go into my corner. It's a happy corner. I'm a normal mom here.
And I couldn't possible love my lil' twinsies more.
p.s. if you want a chance to win an iPad min and help a little girl find her forever family, check out my friend Patti's post