Today I sent my youngest and non challenged son to school.
Today I cried.
Three years ago I sent my oldest challenged daughter to school.
Three years ago, I did not cry.
What's wrong with me?
This afternoon I sat in my car on my lunch break and I questioned my heart as a mother. There's a cardinal rule and no matter what, you CANNOT love one child more than the other.
I dug deeper. Is there really a chance I love her less? In an attempt to help me feel better I wondered if there was a time I actually cried for my daughter?
Of course! There was that time she got very sick, pale, and started vomiting for no identifiable reason. She didn't have the words to tell me she didn't feel well. She didn't have the ability to understand my words as I tried to tell her what was happening. And I cried. My heart hurt because I couldn't help her understand.
There was a time when her brother slammed her fingers in the door. She didn't know why. She didn't know how long her fingers would throb. She didn't know my kisses were supposed to take the pain away. And I cried that day too.
These little moments started to add up in my confused brain and I realized yes, I do love her.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with me!
It's simply that my love for her is "different" than my sons.
So no, I'm not a failed mother. Nobody told me parenting love is not about more or less, but it's about recognizing where it's needed most.
On my daughters first day of school, I already knew she was going to make it. She has the social skills to woo the world! Whether mommy was there or not, she would find her classroom, make friends, and embrace the unknown.
And on my sons first day of school I was scared for him. He likes the comfort and predictability of his home and believe it or not, can sometimes be shy.
So, it's not about who I cried for and when. It's about recognizing the difference and giving each child the strength when they need it most.
And nobody taught me that.
So today, I'm proudly shouting to the world that I am not a failed mom.
I need to share what I have learned about myself this week in hopes to reach one mommy that might have experienced that same feeling of incompetence.
Raising a special needs child brings more challenges and new emotions than I've ever imagined.
And not once, for a single moment, do I want a mom out there to feel like I did on that day.
I want to be the first to tell you.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with you - actually you're even better than you thought.