My Mommy Meltdown That Changed Everything
I was shopping at Target minding my own business, looking through the kid’s clothes and I hear giggling followed by a little boy coming around the corner, running at full speed. He had to have been a little over a year and he looked like he was having a blast! Of course, chasing after him was his over-exhausted mom who did not find him running around and laughing at the top of his lungs amusing. I gave her a quick smile to somehow show her I was in solidarity with her, when all of a sudden the little boy crashed right into me and fell. He thought it was hilarious as he kept laughing and his mom rushed by my side to apologize. I re-assured her it was no big deal because I totally understood. It was then she noticed Gi, who I had wrapped in the baby carrier sleeping. Vi was entertained looking through clothes she wanted me to buy.
“Oh how cute! How old is she?”
I hesitated because I know the reaction I get when I tell people, but I responded, “She’s 13 months.”
She looked surprised and told me how little Gi was. She told me that her son was 10 months and quite the handful.
She looked at me and said “Gosh you are so lucky to have your baby sleeping while you shop! My kid will never take a nap! Always running around, talking, getting into things. It’s exhausting! I wish my baby slept through the store like yours.”
I quickly felt sick. I half smiled but before we could continue our conversation, she was off chasing her son through the racks of clothes.
Lucky? How the heck am I lucky?
This lady thought I was lucky, but had no idea of the challenges I faced along with Gi. She wasn’t sleeping that day out of luck or because I had her sleep trained or something. She was asleep because she had just gotten out of an hour of intensive physical therapy and it takes her double, triple the strength to do what normal kids do. She was exhausted! She made assumptions, as many of us do (including myself) that by looking at a few moments of another person’s life, or whatever they post of Facebook is perfection, when they can be putting up a front or be dealing with serious things behind closed doors.
She called me lucky because my daughter wasn’t running around the store, yet she had absolutely no idea of the hours I spend not only taking her to physical therapy but working with her at home in hopes of one day I will see her take a step on her own.
She called me lucky because my daughter wasn’t talking loudly and making a bunch of noise, yet she has no clue that Gi has been to countless 3-hour appointments in regards to hearing and speech so that we could figure out if one day she will speak. My heart so desperately longs for the day that I will hear her say “Momma” or “I love you”.
She called me lucky because my daughter wasn’t knocking things over yet she doesn’t know that I spend hours driving back and forth from various forms of Occupational Therapy in hopes that she will start using her hands that have sensory sensitivities. I do this so that one day she may be able to make the messes that every other mother normally dreads.
All of her stresses were my desperate prayer requests that I made to the Lord on a daily basis. Although it may be hard to believe, but the fact that kids are loud, messy, energetic and sometimes rebellious is the greatest indicator that you have a “NORMAL”, HEALTHY child.
I left Target, got the girls in the car and cried like I hadn’t cried in a very long time. Maybe ever.
I cried because I was taking in all that was going on with Gi
I cried because I was angry at the lady (who wasn’t at fault, but I was emotional)
I cried because I was angry with myself for crying
I cried because I was embarrassed for crying
I cried because I was crying
I cried because I was exhausted
It wasn’t the lady’s fault at all, however her words exposed something so deep in my heart that I was unaware of. This was the very first time I had allowed myself to feel any real, unguarded emotion about everything that was going on with Gi. I had been a machine, as I was consumed with all the appointments and tried to hear the information in a logical manner – putting emotions aside. So without warning, a few words were able to render me helpless and bring me to my knees.
It was in my car, I grieved for my child. Now this may sound morbid or exaggeration considering the circumstances. My child is not dead, nor is she terminally ill. However, I grieved that day.
I grieved for the dreams that may never come.
I grieved for the fairytale I had of being a family of 4
I grieved for the normalcy I once had
I grieved for the normalcy Gi didn’t and wouldn’t have
All the hopes and dreams I had for Gi, were now shifting into something else and I mourned for that along with the fact that nothing would ever be the same again. I mourned for her disability and the lack of ability I had to take it all away.
I started to feel heaviness in my heart and honestly didn’t even know what I was going to do. It was just a rush of raw emotion that began consuming me and I just cried out:
“Ileana! Get it together! God will never leave you or forsake you, all things work together for good, when my heart is overwhelmed take me to the rock that is higher than I, give me peace that surpasses all understanding, you are made strong through my (and Gi’s) weakness. “
My pity party revealed that instead of giving over my worries, fears and hurt to Jesus, I was hoarding them in and in return it was crippling me. I was trying to navigate this whole new world by myself and I wasn’t relying on Christ to hold me through it.
I will not get answers here on earth and I have to trust God in that everything he does is for a greater purpose than what I will ever know here on earth. As I felt useless and completely unprepared, I have now come to understand that God equips the called and doesn’t require us to be equipped before he calls us. So if God has called me to be Gi’s mommy, then he has fully equipped me to be the best mommy for her. He uniquely designed me for her and her for me. Knowing that God specifically has called me to this, gives me a peace about what I am doing and strength that only comes from the Lord. I have to cling to his promises daily. I have to check myself. Check my heart, check my attitude because if I don’t, these emotions of despair and fear will cripple me and I will in fact “wreck myself”. The story isn’t over, but on that day at Target the story of this journey restarted with a fresh and new perspective!