He was going one way, she was going the other. It could have been ugly.
Thankfully, their collision was softened due to both of them looking up at the last moment. They both remained standing and more importantly, smiling.
“I’m sorry” quickly followed, but not from the person I expected.
Laken, my almost 10 year old, had been been beaten to the punch by his youngest sister, Willow, the non-verbal one.
As both of them continued their trek down the hall, I stood, frozen in amazement.
Who taught her that?
Willow’s response was not only instinctual but appropriate. To top it all off, it was clear as day! Anybody could have understood it.
I couldn’t be more proud. Or relieved.
It’s been a hard couple of weeks. I’ve been sick. The kind of sick that makes it impossible to parent. I don’t normally get this sick, so I guess I was overdue.
Because life goes on and my husband has to work, the television has been on almost constantly. I’m embarrassed to say, Willow has watched Disney’s Tangled literally every day for the past week. Every day.
Obviously, a nasty virus isn’t the only thing I’m battling. Mommy guilt also has a hold of me.
I’m reminded almost daily via books, the internet, Willow’s therapists or doctors, that much of her success in life depends on the time and energy we put into her as a young child. That’s true for any child, but especially those with special needs.
Willow’s Down syndrome is the reason so much of her play is purposeful. It’s the reason I talk to her constantly even though she doesn’t always respond. Her Ds is the reason our days are filled with therapy sessions and doctors appointments. It’s also the reason I feel such guilt when sickness steals my energy, time and mind.
I know life happens. I know I am only human. I know, most days, I give my kids my all. Still, I cannot shake the guilt and anger that comes when life throws me a curve ball, or phlegm ball in this case. Cough. Cough. Cough.
As is often the case, I take my anger out on the ones I love most. God’s been my main target, sadly. I’ve ended a lot of prayers with “Where are you in this?”
The crazy thing is, I know He’s here. I know He’s the little strength I’ve had. I also know He’s the one who orchestrated that collision.
While I’m not winning any parenting awards at the moment, Willow’s simple apology to her brother stands as proof that Willow is learning even when I’m not teaching. She will be fine, even when I’m not.
Like this virus, I’m guessing my mommy guilt will be with me for awhile. Hearing those words helped me, though. It gave me an answer.
I’ve been asking God where He’s been.
Now I understand.
He’s been with my kids, while I’ve been away….