Monday, June 14, 2010

Some Days

It's pretty much conventional wisdom that it is not good to compare kids because it's just not fair to the children. And I pretty much agree with this conventional wisdom so I try not to compare Julia and Emma to other children. They are amazing, unique little girls and I love them just the way they are so comparing them to other children isn't something I do regularly. But, I think it's human nature to compare things - it certainly is for a trained scientist (like me!) to compare and contrast pretty much everything - and so I find myself often comparing my life to other Mother's lives.

I'm friends with some incredible women that I met when Julia was about 4 weeks old. They hold a play group every Monday morning and we very rarely go these days because our schedule is usually crazy! Today we had some free time and Julia decided she wanted to go to play group. So, off we went. The older children are all Julia's age and then there are all the little brothers and sisters - some Emma's age, some younger than 1 year old. It's a great mix for the children to play and both Julia and Emma love going to group. But me.....not so much. Going to group actually makes me terribly depressed.

It's not so much that I compare Emma to the other children. Like the 7 month old who sits alone, plays with his feet and bangs on the music table. Or the 10 month olds who feed themselves their bottle, are eating table food and crawling. Or the 2 year olds who are running all around telling their Moms what they want to eat or drink and are potty training. Or the children right around Emma's age that are having in depth conversations with their parents and engaging in imaginative play with the other children. It's more that I do see all this around me and it makes me notice the stark contrast of my life from the other mothers' lives.

You see, I'm not complaining that my child is getting into everything. I'm not complaining that my child is growing up too fast. I don't have to chase after anyone or wonder that they are being too quiet and getting into something they shouldn't. I don't have to worry about having Emma eat another chicken nugget in order to get the brownie she is begging for. I don't have to put Emma in time out. I don't get into discussions about putting Emma in camp for the summer. I don't complain about words that she is using that she picked up from who knows where. Well, you get the point.

Each time I go to play group I realize just how different my life is than what I imagined a few years ago. When I'm at home with just our family or in a small group setting with loved ones I feel that our family is pretty much perfect. Our life is so rewarding. But, when I am at play group with a lot of moms and a gang of typically developing children I feel very alone. And not a bit sad when it's time to say goodbye and come home.

4 Comments from readers:

Anonymous said...

Hey Kristina
I've been lurking on your blog for awhile. I have a 28mth old son with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and complex Hydrocephalus and can relate to a lot of the stuff you post on. I absolutely agree with you on this one. I cannot believe how having a child with special needs has changed my friendships. Those that I thought I was the closest too show no interest in my new life or how things are going. While other's that I'm not so close to are there thru everything. I cannot count the number of times I've left social events in tears because I don't feel the connection I once did. Anyway, just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and say that another mom that understands is totally cheering your sweet girl on.


Anonymous said...

Well this one sure got me teary eyed. We've discussed it before, so you know I have similar experiences. I find myself feeling this way even when the kids aren't around and it's just a girlfriend I'm hanging with. She might tell me about something really cute her little one said (he is 2 years younger than E) and I'll smile outwardly while inwardly I feel like screaming.

I find myself seeking out more and more opportunities to be around people who "get it", or more accurately, who "know it". For now at least, it's the only way for me to avoid feeling sadness.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I know exactly what you mean. We help out in our church nursery and that can be a slap in the face at times. Emily is in there with kids that are much younger than she is and they can all do things that she cannot. Sometimes I am able to focus on the kids and enjoy the time with them and other times I leave there feeling so depressed. We all have those days. We just have to remind ourselves how blessed we really are.

Kristina said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments. They make me feel less alone!

Laura - so glad you commented! I looked at your carepage and -oh.my.gosh! Your little boy is just adorable! I tried (unsuccessfully!) to leave a message on your carepage but couldn't figure it out so I'm leaving it here.