The Others

I’m a fantastic mother to my daughter, Willow. But, she’s not my only child. I have two others. And sadly, I can’t say the same for them.

IMG_6681I’m sure most people would assume parenting Willow is a challenge because of her Down syndrome. Throw in the fact that she’s had some health struggles and has just entered her “terrible two’s” and I can understand that assumption. Except it’s wrong. I’ve got this whole special needs parenting thing down. I can manage the therapies, the doctor appointments, the food battles and tantrums. Unfortunately, that’s about all I can manage. There’s nothing left for the others.

They have names. My 8-year old son, Laken got his during a long road trip. My husband and I were throwing out name possibilities for a boy and I just started naming things I saw out my window. “Tree, bush, garbage, lake. Lake! Lake-n. LAKEN!” And that was that.

IMG_6660My 6-year old daughter, Bella got her name back when we were kid-less and free. My husband and I took an amazing trip to Italy and fell in love with the word “bella,” which means “beautiful.” It seemed to fit when we saw our daughter’s face for the first time.

IMG_6758I love all 3 of my children. They are each unique and dear to my heart. There’s definitely no shortage of love. But, patience and time are another matter. When it comes to being a mom, I can honestly say that I give it my all. But sadly, that isn’t enough most days. Time doesn’t just magically appear, which makes patience all the more difficult to track down. I often burn up all my energy on Willow, leaving nothing behind for the others. It’s not fair. But, it’s reality.

I’ve read lots of stories and have even seen research showing siblings of individuals with Down syndrome are generally more happy with life. Most say they wouldn’t change a thing and that they are better people thanks to their special siblings.

CAM01274I wonder what those people think about their moms. Did their moms yell at them out of exhaustion and frustration? Did their mothers struggle to give them the attention they deserved? Are they better people because they’ve learned to roll with the punches, fend for themselves and deal with over-tired stressed out maniacs?

I wish I knew how to manage it all. I wish I knew how to hold my cool. I wish I knew how to show my kids that yes, your sister gets more of me, but that doesn’t make you “less than.” And, I wish I had a crystal ball to show me that my kids will one day say that they’re better people because of this journey we’re on. Lord, I pray that’s the case. Because right now, it seems so unfair, and almost impossible to show the others that while they might feel last on my list, they’ll always be my first loves.

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7 thoughts on “The Others

  1. You are an awesome mother, wife, pet owner, church member, female, daughter…..and any other category you want to apply to…Before Willow….your children were just fine, outgoing, stubborn, smart, sweet, story tellers….and loved by you. After Willow….your children are just fine, more outgoing, more stubborn, too smart, sometimes sweet, story tellers and loved by you.

  2. I agree with Avis…you are beating yourself up for NO REASON. I think all mothers go through the feelings you are even if they do not have special needs children. I can remember many-a-times when I would feel torn with spending too much time helping your brother with his homework and feel so badly that I wasn’t spending as much time with you. I loved both of you (still do) but sometimes when our time/attention is pulled in one direction more than the other, we begin to wonder if it’s “fair” to all involved.

    Do not ever doubt your abilities and love as a mother. YOU ARE AWESOME and I know your kids feel the same way. (of course, we don’t always hear that from them)….Keep doing what you are doing!

  3. I feel this way at times also. My older son always seems to be getting the lecture of why he’s expected to do more or be more and my younger son with DS seems to get more attention and praise for accomplishing

  4. I would like for you to know that as a mom to 3 kids before my youngest, who also has Down syndrome, I felt the same exact way. My oldest were 14 & 10 when their brother came he had chronic ear infections and multiple dr visits they were in sports and I juggled a lot and ya know what I yelled at them before him and after I had goos days and bad I lose my patience now with an extra kid who requires a lot extra and Ill yell when the new baby comes in March….it’s life! Its mom life its multiple kid life its extra chromosome life and I promise you they will all still love you, admire you, and wonder when they grow up how you were so amazing…..cuz you ARE!!!!

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