If you have kids you know all about the difficulties of raising kids, and the enjoyment. There are moments when you realize that you may actually be doing something right! Without these special moments I don't know how many of us survive these 18 years and more of child rearing.
Since the beginning of this journey, I have wondered how will this impact or affect my kids? As a parent (and I believe especially a mom), you hate to see your kids hurting...you hate it. Fathers seem to have a strength about them that allows them to discipline more easily. Mothers hearts ache just a bit more when they know that their kids are hurting. Mostly because we on average have more of an emotional makeup.
Our youngest is in grade 3 and for the most part oblivious to the matter at hand. When I tied his skates this past week and his goalie pads he exclaimed very loudly and excitedly, "My mom is awesome!" "She's the best!" "My mom's a pro!" Over and over.....and over. This was slightly embarrassing and as I try to tell him to hush he just keeps making these proclomations loud and clear for everyone to hear. What I realized was that he does not understand ANYTHING about what is going on even though we have tried to have a discussion with him. He just thought that I was uncapable of doing this task before because he thought I simply didn't know how! I did know how but because of the lack strength and feeling in my hands I was unable to do so.
Our middle boy is in grade 5 and as I dropped him off for piano lessons I simply asked him if he understood what was going on and he proceeded to tell me "yes". So I asked him to tell me what he knew about MS. He told me, "Well you lose some of your feeling, like in your hands, but you don't die from it, so it's okay!" Straight and to the point I guess! This is my factual and to the point child so it wasn't all that surprising. He processess the information and comprehends the logistics of the disease or at least partly.
Which brings me to my oldest who is in grade 7, who casually made a joke in the morning about being paralysed all over when he had to carry groceries for me because I couldn't. Well he realized real quick that it wasn't a joke...as tears came into my eyes. At that time we didn't know a lot about MS but I knew that you can lose mobility etc. He and I sat on the couch and he had raw fear in his eyes. Something I will never forget...something that makes you cry even more, which is hard because you want to comfort and not have him be fearful of the unknown. I told him how the disease affects everyone differntly and joked that I wouldn't need a wheelchair until I was an old grandma, trying to lighten the mood. I told him that it doesn't happen overnight and that there are good bouts and bad ones but that everything would be okay. Over the next couple of weeks he had a couple of bad days because he is the one who worries, but worse he is not a talker! He keeps everything in until he explodes.
What I noticed over the next bit has been the part that gives me joy. He was leaving the house for school and said "Bye mom. I love you." What? Did my ears deceive me? This is not my lovey dovey child. No that is the other two, but definately not this one! Not only did this happen the one day but almost every day since! He also came to find me in my bedroom one night because I was actually heading to bed earlier than him, to tell me goodnight and to give me a hug. Usually I get the arm around the side or a lame version of that, but definately not a full out hug, one that he actually went searching for! Now he hugs me randomly, says he loves me before school and actually will do chores without complaining a lot of the time. He still fights with his brothers and he has been more irritable lately, but he's talking! Yes it always happens to be when it's bedtime but talking. There is a maturity in him that I believe was sparked by all of this. I know it would have come eventually lol but I'm glad that when it comes to other people he seems to have a differnt awareness. This is challenging because he is irritated with kids at school how they always goof around and I'm not saying he doesn't make mistakes because he does. Even this last week he went and told a kid something that was pretty mean, but what impressed me was how he handled it afterwards. He pulled the kid aside, and gave him a proper apology, not some quick "I'm sorry" cause he had to, but a genuine apology telling him what he did was wrong and mean etc. He even had to apologize to an adult about the same incident and did so without us knowing.
It's the moments like that make me realize that we are doing something right as parents. As they get older there will be more joy and more heartache, and in the meantime I pray for lots of wisdom!