Sunday, July 14, 2013

The ups and downs of being a parent

I'm sure I've said or alluded to this before, but being a parent has been the most difficult and most rewarding thing I've ever done.  And it's not been difficult for the typical reasons of not getting as much sleep, less time to get things done, or a million other things people warn you about.  I mean those things are hard to get used to, but the hardest thing has been when I can't make things better for Tera.  Whether it's trying to understand how difficult it must be for her to sit still in a doctor's office and wait patiently, or how there is a chance that when she fights me every second of doing her hair most days it's because it's a sensory issue instead of her just being stubborn (although until she can talk I won't know for sure that she's not just being stubborn), or how hot her little feet must get when she has all that equipment on them, or how it's just hard for her to sit still ever because of her low muscle tone.

But believe it or not, those are the easier things for me to handle.  The truly hard part is having to watch her be sick over and over and over again.  And having to get her to take so many medications (I can count at least four daily and that's when she's healthy).  And having to hold her down so that they can get an IV or a catheter in while she screams and uses every ounce of energy and muscle in her little body to fight it.  And mostly just not being able to ease her discomfort and pain when she's sick.

And then there is the rewarding part.  Being so proud I can barely stand it when she accomplishes something for the first time like walking.  Taking her up in front of a whole crowd full of people at the Buddy Baseball
game to help her hit the ball and watch her being cheered on by everyone there.  Seeing her truly enjoy something and watching her eyes light up while she shrieks with happiness and excitement.  And most recently, her growing empathy. She doesn't like to see people or kids upset and many times will go and give them a hug when she feels something is wrong.  Last week we had a few days of difficult moments between medications and trying to get her ready and more than once she simply looked at me while I was holding her, took my face in her hands, and gave me a kiss.  I swear I could not have loved that kid any more if I tried.  Today I watched her walk around a room with her grandparents, aunt and uncle, and Tom and I and just give each of us a hug and then move to the next person.  And then she repeated the whole thing several times.  We took her to the spray park this afternoon and for no reason she went up to at least three kids she didn't know and just gave them a hug ( and this was all after having only napped for about a half hour).

Parenthood means different things to different people.  Some think it's easy, some say it's exhausting, some say it's just something you do.  Nobody is right or wrong on their perspective.  I think it depends on your kid(s), your outlook, and your situation.  I don't think you need a kid to be happy and I don't think everyone that has one is happy.

This past Friday brought the arrival of my twin nieces; which means my sister and brother-in-law have entered into a whole new part of their lives.  I know they will be amazing parents; they already have been and the girls are only three days old.  But they will have their challenges too and some will be the same as ours and some will be different.  Some will be easier and some will be harder, but they will have many more joys along the way.  One of my biggest pet peeves about being a parent is when other parents tell you all the worst things that you'll have to go through.  Many people told us we'd never sleep again and Tera was one of the easiest infants I've ever known and slept through the night at seven weeks.  Nobody told me my kid was going to have Down Syndrome and she'd be sick so much of the time.  They also never told me that she would have a heart of gold and the face of perfection.

I'm so excited for my sister and brother-in-law and am already head over heels in love with those two little girls.  I'm excited for them and their two new beauties and I'm excited for me because being a mom is something that we can share also.  And I will be there for them during all those good and bad times just like they have been for us.  But really I'm mostly excited because we have two sweet, snuggly, soft little babies to hold and smother in kisses.  And soon Tera can meet these babies we've been telling her about for the past nine months and I can revel in watching her love them as much as I know she will.


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