Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hard Part of Parenting

Recently I seem to be struggling to juggle all the things in my life that now require my time.  Sara and I have been through big changes in the last couple of months, and I know they are for the better.  But at the same time, it has been a lot of work and I'm just plain exhausted from it all.

I realize how large a task it is to be living on our own.  I knew what all was involved before I decided to take this step, but I forgot how much work it really is.  Last time I lived alone was 10 years ago...and I only had to worry about myself.  The easy things are the chores like laundry and mowing the lawn.  I figured that making a new schedule that worked for us which now had to include ten times as many chores would be the hardest.  I was totally wrong!

I've always felt (deep down) that I was raising Sara alone.  I had to play mom and dad from day one, even when her father lived with us.  He was distant and out of touch with Sara and what was going on with her.  He still struggles to accept Sara for the way she is.  He has grown much since our separation when it comes to that, but I feel he still has a ways to go.  So emotionally I guess I have always had the mind set of a single mother.  My parents divorced when I was 12, and I remember watching my parents struggle to figure out how to remaster the parenting skill in a totally new way.  I look back on that now, and realize how hard that must have been.  And although as a child I hated some of the choices they made, I now have come to understand why they did it (even if I still don't agree).

Part of me realizes now that I have always known I would end up a single parent.  Its the model I know, and it's what works for me.  And I don't feel like I'm taking anything away from Sara.  She still sees her dad and has a good relationship with him as far as I can tell.  She talks about him and the things they do and smiles while she says it.  If nothing else, I feel like Sara is gaining from having two households and two families.  She has just as many people to love and care for her, and it gives her the chance to learn how to adapt to life in a safe way.  Lots of people aren't good with change, but I think Sara is not included in that group.  Like me, she seems to handle change with minimal distress. 

Parenting Sara has never been easy, and I don't suspect that will ever change.  She presents many unique challenges when it comes to helping her to understand the world around her.  And here is where I usually get lost and confused!  I have no idea how to explain to her why she's different, or how come God chose her to carry this burden.  I don't know what to say when she will look me in the eyes and asks "why me".  I know that these questions are coming, and I don't have any answers.  I do know that she is a strong, amazing, smart, beautiful, and confident little girl...and that is the one thing I do know how to tell her!  I'm hoping that in reassuring her of her amazing qualities, that it will provide her the strength she needs to then go out and find the answers to those other questions on her own.  And those are questions that can only be answered by her.

Each day is a new adventure, and each day I have to take time to remember the important things, the good things in our lives.  We have an amazing support network of friends and family, a safe place to live and food to eat, access to amazing medical care for Sara, a wonderful job that I love, and a certain someone that is slowly becoming a larger part of our lives!  Each day I wake up and tell myself "I can do this!"  Because really, I don't have a choice.  And even if I did, I wouldn't change a thing.

I have been truly blessed to be given the challenge of raising such an amazing little girl, but that doesn't mean I know how.  Sometimes I get confused or overwhelmed, but that doesn't mean I can't do it!  I know I can, and I will!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Julie!!! I could have written this post for the most part. Someone once told me that alot of times kids who are born with life long conditions such as Sara and Corbett don't really they are too different since it's all they've known. Meaning, that all they know is doc appts, medical issues, etc. There's no way to know if S and C will feel that way, but I know you'll always do and say the best for Sara. Until then, "Welcome to Holland"