When it comes to judging… I give myself a perfect 10. See? I’m so good… I even judge my own judging! But like any good judge… I hate being judged! And I especially hate when my children are judged. Unfortunately… when it comes to Willow… judgement comes often. Therapists… doctors… strangers… all judge her. And sadly… I’ve come to realize that the judgement is rarely in her favor.
Now… I realize some of the judgement isn’t meant as judgement. I also realize that most of it is done with good intentions. Especially when doctors or therapists are involved. But… no matter the intention… it’s still judging… and I just can’t help but feel sorry for Willow sometimes. On Monday it’s Early Intervention. On Tuesday it’s occupational therapy. On Wednesday it’s physical therapy. Each time… Willow is judged on her progress. Each time… she is given a list of things to improve upon. Even when she meets a milestone… the celebration is short lived. There are new milestones to work toward.
In another week Willow will have her 1 year check-up with her pediatrician. Like always… her growth and development will be compared to that of a “normal” child. Like always… she’ll fall short. The very thought of this puts a knot in my tummy. My poor girl. The only saving grace is that she’s too young to understand. Unfortunately… as her mom… I do. It tears at my heart every time I have to answer a doctor’s questions about what Willow can and cannot do. It’s hard not to feel for her every time she’s pushed to tears by one of her therapists. I’m so proud of Willow. So unbelievably proud. I wish we could just sit and revel in her accomplishments. Unfortunately… there’s work to do. Milestones to push for. Afterall… I’m told Willow won’t meet them if she doesn’t work toward them.
The day Willow was born… we were told that when it comes to Down syndrome… a large part of a child’s success hinges on the family they’re born into. Gulp. I’ve actually heard this line many times since that day. Every time I hear it… it makes me cringe. I get what people are saying… and I know most of them are using the line as a compliment… but dang… that’s a lot of pressure! It feels like so much hinges on me. Willow isn’t crawling yet. She doesn’t even have enough strength to hold herself up on all fours. Is that because I’m not doing enough? Deep down I know I am… but whenever someone asks “is she crawling yet?”…. whenever a therapist judges her progress… I start to question everything. And sometimes… when I start to question… I actually find myself becoming Willow’s judge rather than her cheerleader. Icky. Icky. Icky.
So here I am… wondering what to do. To the outside world… Willow will never measure up. To me… she’s perfect. She was from day one! But I also want Willow to reach the stars… if she wants… and that means I might have to push her sometimes. So how do I push… without making Willow feel like I’m joining the crowd of judges? I want her to feel “good enough”… because she is! Yet… I want to help her reach her fullest potential. How do I do it? How do I balance? It’s all so confusing. Ugh. Does this ever get easier?
Ok… so at this point I’m sure you’re all judging me on the crazy scale. Am I right? This would be where I say “it takes one to know one.” hahahahaha. Seriously… I need to just stop caring so much about what other people think. God is the ultimate judge. He’s also the ultimate cheerleader. He knows what Willow can and will do. He’s not rushing her… pushing her… judging her. He’s just loving her. So if you don’t mind… I’m gonna go do the same…
Ok… I’m back. I thought I’d just take a moment to update everyone on Willow’s health. She had a cardiology check-up this week and surprise surprise… the judgement was actually in her favor! Willow’s echo looked great. Just a few minor leaks… but her cardiologist isn’t concerned. The left valve between her upper and lower chambers is functioning on the high end of normal… but it looks the same as her last echo… so there is no concern there either. Because this chamber was reconstructed during surgery… I was reminded that there is a 15-30% chance Willow will need additional surgery at some point during her life. I have heard the 15% thing before… but this is the first time it was followed by 30%. I didn’t know there was a range. But… I can’t dwell on that. It’s in God’s hands… and for now… the cardiologist is happy. So is Willow. And come October 7th… she’ll be even happier. That’s because she’s getting her tonsils shaved… adenoids removed… tubes put her her ears and a balloon sinuplasty. While the surgery itself will not be fun… the results are expected to greatly improve Willow’s life. The procedure should help clear up some of her congestion… as well as improve her eating and sleeping. This tired momma is banking on that. 🙂