In the last few months my character has experienced some changes. Contrary to the belief of those who constantly call me INSPIRING, in spite of THIS post, not all the changes are for the better.
A friend was talking to me on the phone the other day and complaining about her toddler's antics. All I could think was "If I ever catch Kaylee climbing on the dishwasher I am going to take a photo and give her a lolly.". Where once I may have offered supportive comments, I just felt like yelling down the phone "SUCK IT UP!!! Your kid is being a KID!!! BE THANKFUL!!!! What were you expecting when you became a mother? An accessory? You have a little human being with a will of his own - dealing with this stuff is your freekin JOB!"
Thankfully I bit my tongue and when I got off the phone and calmed down I was able to remember being the mother of one very lively toddler Erin and - at times - feeling exasperated and confused by behaviour which I know now is completely and utterly normal and would be thrilled to see Kaylee engage in.
I also spoil my toddler now. Not just "Oh here have a lolly before dinner" spoil but "Oh you're having a tantrum, have WHATEVER you want plus a few other things you didn't even ask for! And while you're at it, kick me in the head and pull my hair and I will tell you just how smashing I think you are and kiss your neck" spoil. Yeah, I know. I'm working on it.
I gripe, talk behind people's back and hold grudges too. There are a few nurses at the local hospital who would probably be a little taken aback if they heard me talking in the privacy of my own home about them. When they came on shift the last time we were there it took a LOT of self control to be nice to them at all. As a rule I think nurses are rock stars....but there are exceptions to every rule apparently.
I am highly critical, controlling and possibly a teeny weeny bit sarcastic. When we went into hospital on Thursday and had a temporary NG tube placed I wasn't sure about how it was taped but didn't say anything straight away. I went down to say goodbye to my other kids then came back to find that lo and behold, Kaylee had pulled out her tube. I said to the nurse "Hmmm, yeah. It's all in the taping." and proceeded to instruct this poor nurse (who probably had fifteen years experience) how to tape a tube properly. When Kaylee had a new tube she ended up being taped up enough to look like a mummy because the nurse wanted to escape further "instruction" from me!
Yeah, they love me in there. I promise.
Readers who have been friends of mine for years will be snorting with laughter about now. Not because of my incredible wit, but because they know a secret. These aren't ACTUALLY huge changes. I've actually always kind-of-a-little-bit been sarcastic, mean, judgemental, critical, controlling and over indulgent with toddlers (not so much Erin, poor kid, but the others, yeah, little bit). I could get away with it more if I had a British accent but alas I grew up in Regional Central Victoria, Australia. It turns out that I am still me - but more so.
It turns out that I didn't get a kid with special needs because I am some kind of saint or martyr. It also turns out intense life experiences are a little like a furnace with silver - they bring the impurities to the top. In spite of the social expectation that we are saints and martyrs, many mothers of kids with special needs are, as one particular blogger puts it, weary women. Many of whom do not tell it like it is because they don't want their frustration with the situation, illness or condition to be interpreted as not loving their child. Many of whom do not share their load because the reality is most people would prefer to keep an untarnished image of the saintly version of "that inspirational woman with the special needs child" rather than get involved in the marvellous, messy, painful, tragic, exhausting and often-covered-with-bodily-fluids world raising special needs Kids.
I know that I haven't got it all together. Help me to let go and let your Spirit shine through me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Help me to get people to understand that anything good they see in me is because You created it within me and are shining through me. And most of all Lord, help me not to kick the next person to call me inspirational in the shins.