One of my biggest fears about balancing Brooklyn and my other two children has always been my ability/inability to be a good mother to each of them. Giving each girl what she needs and not making anyone feel neglected or unloved. This fear surfaced very early on in our journey, and I admit that even after much prayer, it hasn't quite gone away. I'm not sure it ever will.
The 18 days in the hospital after Brooklyn was born were hard. Really, really hard. I felt torn and guilty, but it wasn't really a "parenting failure" on my part. I had little control over the situation, and I tried my hardest to be where I was needed.
This week, however, I experienced what I would call my first "failure."
Tuesdays are Brooklyn's clinic days and because she has started weekly casting and is still being monitored for a shunt, we are there every week, usually all day. However, several weeks ago I realized my oldest daughter Emma's first day of Kindergarten was on a Tuesday. So we worked the appointments around her day so I could be there to drop her off and pick her up (there is no bus available). I had people who could help me with Emma, but it was a big day -- for her and for me! -- and I wanted her to know it was important and that it was a priority. In fact, to make it work, we had to go to clinic twice this week. And even though our clinic is an hour away, I felt it was worth it. Emma was worth it.
But as you have probably already guessed, it didn't end up working out the way we planned. I was able to drop off Emma in the morning, but the orthopedic surgeon ended up running late, and I couldn't get there in time to pick her up. I had to call my Mom for help. I was devastated.
I wasn't going to be the first face she saw after her first day of Kindergarten. I wasn't going to be the one to greet her with my biggest "I missed you" hug. I wasn't going to be the first one to hear about all the fun stuff she did. Plus, I TOLD her I was going to pick her up. She was expecting ME... her Mom.
I felt like such a failure. How could I do this to Emma? I cut it way too close. I should have known better. How could I let her down like this? I knew our "new reality" was going to present these types of challenges, but I didn't anticipate it happening so soon and on such an important day.
But you know what? It didn't even phase Emma. In fact, she told me what a "neat surprise" it was that Grandma picked her up. "I was so surprised, Mom! I was so happy to see her," she told me.
I still got a very excited welcome when she saw my face. I still got to give her my biggest "I missed you" hug, and I still got to hear every detail about her day. Even if I wasn't the first one to greet her, we still had our moment -- a moment filled with much joy and no disappointment.
I think sometimes we put so much focus on the "first" and the "ceremonial" aspects of events -- and what we think they should be -- we forget to focus on what's really important. No, Emma's first day of Kindergarten didn't quite go like I had planned, but in the end, both Emma and Brooklyn were taken care of, and, really, that's what is important. God provided me with a family member that was available to help out in a pinch and give Emma the joyful reunion she needed, and I was still able to stay so that Brooklyn could receive the care she needed.
In fact, this experience parallels what I feel God has showed me since we found out about Brooklyn's SB: That even when life doesn't go according to your plan, God has a way of always providing you with what you need to get through it.
And, more importantly, I am learning that if you choose to accept His plan and trust that His ways are better, you can get through it with much joy and no disappointment.
Lisa (@ Heaven Sent)