There is an opportunity for healing here.
Recently I began following the amazingly beautiful blog of, Kelle Hampton. She’s a professional photographer. Her pictures are gorgeous. She has a little tow-headed three year old daughter, and the most exquisite baby girl born just a few months ago, with Down Syndrome. The story of Nella Cordelia’s birth sucked me in completely, and I’ve been reading Kelle Hampton’s blog ever since.
This mom is way more insightful than I was at her age. She is doing motherhood her own way, not listening to people who warn her how hard DS is going to be. She is a positive person. I believe in that, you know? It’s like, my thing. Law of Attraction. What you focus on gets bigger. My success is measured by my joy.
But lately, when I read her blog, (and seriously this has nothing to do with her) I can’t stand her. And not just because she looks great in a bikini a few short months after giving birth. Her beautiful story is bringing up so much pain for me.
Her little three year old, and the fun they are having, the sweetness and light of their relationship. It makes me cry. Because I wanted that. I wanted a happy little three year old girl. And my sweet little girl mostly just screamed at that age. And sometimes it is hard not to think about how much we missed. We weren’t having faerie parties. We were at occupational therapy, and autism doctors, and dozens of other therapies(not covered by insurance), etc. I wanted to be that mom. All laid back and fun, and crafty. But I was wasn’t. I felt like I was racing for my daughter’s life at the time. My brow was permanently knit. I wasn’t at the beach “sucking the marrow” out of life. I was worried. I was swimming in fear.
And then here is Nella. The most adorable little baby. I don’t know this family at all, but that little baby has my heart. I believe she will have the heart of every person she meets, her entire life. Her sweetness just oozes off the page of her mama’s blog. And it brings up another hurt.
Riley will never get the instant benefit-of-the-doubt Nella will receive.
It took years to get a correct diagnosis for Riley. I was so very alone as a new mother. No therapists coming to the house. No support from our pediatrician. No support from anyone, really. We had moved to a new state, and I hadn’t one friend nearby to bounce things off of. When Riley started having severe meltdowns, there was no one to hand her off to. How do you ask a casual friend, a neighbor, someone you don’t know well, to look after a child, who by the way, won’t stop screaming?
And this other blogger? She has such a solid support system. She has a whole huge community both physically where she lives, and on-line, celebrating her very special baby.
No one ever celebrated us. No one ever said, “Hey, you have a kid with autism, and it is going to be such an amazing ride if you allow it to be.”
No circle of women gathered around, treating me with reverence.
Todd did his best to support me, but he hadn’t a clue either. Both of us, relatively well adjusted ’til then, had panic attacks for the first time in our lives by the time Riley was three.
Oh how my heart goes out to those younger versions of ourselves. Oh that we managed to be kind to each other, under those circumstances, it just brings a lump to my throat.
And I thought I was okay. I thought we were in a mostly good place. But when I start finding fault with people, I have to stand back and ask, what’s hurting? Seriously, what’s going on? Especially if my fault with someone is that they are “too positive.” That’s just kind of funny, given what I believe. Oh ego, you are so very clever.
If given the choice, I wouldn’t trade the daughter I have for anything. She is mine and I am hers, and I do believe we’ve been together for lifetimes. She is the exact daughter I was supposed to have. I was meant to be her mother.
I had this very vivid dream back in 1994, before Todd. Six years before Riley would be born. A baby sea otter was taking me on an ecstatic ride, gliding me through the ocean. The love I felt for this little otter was pure God force. I’d never experienced anything like it. The love was so vivid, so powerful, so raw and wild, I woke up, my heart beating fast, and wrote it down. The next day I took the only medium I had at my disposal, and drew the feeling in crayon.
I forgot about the dream, tucked the drawing away somewhere, but the instant Riley was put in my arms it flooded back to me. It was her! The baby sea otter I loved. The baby that would take me to wild and amazing places. The soul friend-sister-daughter-mother who would lead me through the fire. I thought the drawing got tossed, but found it last year in a box that hadn’t ever been unpacked in several moves.
I have it framed in my office now. This drawing reminds me, Riley and I are doing important work here. We’re doing things I can’t even wrap my mind around yet. Kelle Hampton is doing her own important work. To entertain the thought that her life, is somehow better than my life? Source does not agree. And when we think thoughts that go against the truth of the Universe, it hurts! When we forget how absolutely vital each one of us is, to All That Is, that’s when we suffer. And when we suffer, we start finding fault with others.
And you know what? I never could have figured all of this out, if not for Riley and the places she has taken me. Loving her, has caused my heart to shift and open a million times wider than it ever would have. My compassion muscles are really big now. This includes having compassion for myself, even when I’m ugly. Even when I make mistakes. Even when I think petty thoughts. But I can no longer leave things there. My soul won’t tolerate it. I have to dig deeper now.
So, my apologies to Kelle Hampton. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to grow. Keep “sucking that marrow” Kelle. You and yours are so very beautiful.
And we are too.