See Them Shine

See Them Shine

Yesterday, David and I were at the mall with Briana, and we went to the food court to get something to eat. The very kind family that ran the restaurant we decided on said “Oh, your daughter is so cute. But, oooooh. What happened to her eye, poor thing?”

Briana was wearing her eye patch. 

This isn’t the first time someone has asked us why Briana is wearing the patch, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. David or I just explains she’s not hurt (which is what people are assuming), but she has a slight wandering eye and that we are using the patch to try to correct it without any other intervention. 

David explained, and the kind woman behind the counter said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” David moved right on past the whole thing and ordered our food. But I stepped away with Briana and went in search of a table. I wasn’t sure why, but the exchange had bothered me, and I was trying to step back from the situation and figure out why I had reacted the way I was reacting.

I found myself wanting to take Briana’s patch off, even though she’d only had it on for about 20 minutes, and she’s supposed to wear it for an hour a day. I even mentioned taking it off early when David came to the table. David said, “Nah, keep it on for another 20 minutes at least.”

Briana isn’t bothered by her eye patch at all. In fact, a couple of days ago, she found the box of eye patches in the kitchen and started trying to open it. She grew upset when I took the box and said “you already had your patch today, honey.” She wanted me to put another patch on her.

It took me until right before we got into bed that night to finally put my feelings into words and share them with David. “It makes me feel defensive. I hate that people think that there’s something wrong with her, and I hate that they feel sorry for her. And I really hate that even after we explain it’s nothing major, they say ‘oh, I’m so sorry.’ Like Briana is defective.”

David is a pretty straightforward sort of guy, so his response to my thoughts was pretty much “Who cares what anyone else thinks?”

And he’s right. I shouldn’t care. And I even told David that he was right. But I had more to say. “I’m more worried about my reaction to them than their reaction to her. I don’t want Briana to see me acting uncomfortable and think I’m embarrassed by her patch. I’m not embarrassed by her patch. I’m angry about people’s reaction to it. But I’m afraid she’ll pick up on my reaction and start not wanting to wear the patch when we leave the apartment.”

He understood that part better. He agreed we wouldn’t want that to happen. But he still couldn’t understand why it made me angry. He pointed out that if they don’t know how to react, “I’m sorry” is a generally acceptable social response. And again, he’s right. But it still makes me bristle.

My child is gorgeous. Plain and simple. There should never be a qualifier. “Oh, your baby is so cute. But what’s wrong with her eye?” She’s so pretty, but That’s what I latch onto. As if she can’t be pretty because she’s wearing an eye patch. It may not be how they meant it at all, but that’s how it’s coming into my head and being processed. And it makes my heart ache, and it makes me want to take her patch off so that they can see there is no “but.” She’s simply beautiful.

I don’t know how I want people to react. I know they’re going to be curious. And I don’t mind explaining, I guess. I just want people to know that regardless of her need for an eyepatch, my daughter doesn’t need anyone’s sympathy. She’s a beautiful, smart, inquisitive, friendly, happy, amazing little girl. She shines, and I don’t want anyone to take her shine away, simply because of an eye patch.

So, if you ever run into someone who has a child with an eyepatch, or who is in a wheelchair, or who has a feeding tube, or is autistic, or who just looks a little different, just say “Oh, your child is beautiful.” Leave off the “but.” Leave off the question at all. You don’t need to satisfy your curiosity, and they don’t need your sympathy. They’re just like any other family – they want you to see their child shine.

Proud Mama of a Shining Little Girl

Not a Crafty Mama

Not a Crafty Mama

I would blog a lot more if I knew what to say. I feel as if my blogs are repetitive and uninteresting, at least to people who don’t know me, or know my daughter. I’m not a crafty mom, I don’t do Pintrest projects, and the most artsy project I’ve done with Briana is to let her color with crayons.

I take pictures, but I don’t have fantastic camera, and I don’t have Photoshop.

All I really do, is love my child. I try to enjoy every moment with her, even in the moments that I’m upset, I try to remind myself that later, this will make a good story. Like last night, when she threw a pocket Spanish dictionary in my face, and the corner hit me above the eye. I’m sure that will be funny, once the sore spot on my face isn’t so tender.

Today, I got home from work excited to see her. I got home before 2:00, and she was taking a nap. She still isn’t awake, almost two hours later. I need to go wake her up soon. 

Yesterday, she said, out of nowhere, “We go inside?” We had swung by my in-laws house to drop off something, and we were sitting in the car, because my father-in-law was going to come get it. I didn’t want to get Briana out of the car and turn around and put her right back in. And she looks at me, confused, and says “We go inside?”

It was a little jumbled, not super clear, but she repeated it three times until I answered her. I said, “No, honey, we aren’t going inside.” And she got super angry and took off her shoe in retaliation…because apparently, that’s supposed to make me mad?

And now she says “want out” or “want down” when she is done eating. Yesterday, she got mad at me for not putting her down fast enough after I had picked her up to give her a kiss and she said “Said DOWN! DOWN!” Okay then…

She also very clearly says “Lemme see” (Let me see) when we are watching a video on our phones or reading something. And she will push herself into your lap and take a gander. It’s so cute!

It’s amazing that she’s getting so close to “real” sentences. It feels like she says something new every single day, and I’m absolutely sure that I am not catching it all. 

She surprises me with what she will eat. Pretty much the only thing I’ve tried feeding her that she won’t touch is tomatoes. Which isn’t surprising…I hate tomatoes, it’s a texture thing. I love pizza and spaghetti and even tomato soup, but I can’t stand the texture of fresh tomatoes. 

Briana used to sleep with two stuffed puppies and her blanket. Now, most nights, I come in to check on her and the puppies are on the floor, along with her pillow. She still keeps a death grip on the blanket though!

Can someone please pinch me? I can’t believe she will be two in four months…less than four months!

What is your favorite memory from when your child (or children) was (or were) not yet 2? I think mine is the first time Briana started twirling in circles. SO cute!

Not a Pintrest Crafty Mama

 

 

Missing My Girl

Missing My Girl

Lately, I feel as if I never see my daughter. I usually leave before she is awake, and pick her up somewhere between three and five p.m. depending on my schedule. She eats dinner around 6 and is usually in bed by 7.

Even on my days off, it seems like I don’t get the quality time I am craving. I am distracted by bills and chores and errands and stress about money and one disaster or the other related to my husbands illness. There is also the fact that I am severely depressed to factor in, so even when I am trying to play with her, my attention span is as short as my patience.

She senses when I am depressed and reacts to it. Badly. She always throws more tantrums and fits when I feel disconnected from reality or find myself wanting to cry for no reason. She doesn’t like it and can’t fix it, so she acts out. I remember feeling helpless when adults in my life were depressed. I know she is still really young, but I don’t want my moods to affect her like that.

I am surrounded by love and friends and family day in and day out and still feel completely alone. My husbands struggles make me feel like I have to be the strong one who never messes up, and that puts an enormous amount of pressure on me that wears on me day in and day out.

Today I am feeling caged. I am always taking care of Bri or my husband, catch the glass before it tips, distract before he panics, feed before she screams, hug before he yells. Always be everywhere at the right time and never ever ever show it when I am feeling weak.

Who catches the moms before they fall? Who soothes them before they scream or cry or refuse to get out of bed? Who picks them up when they stumble and kisses away their hurts? Who takes over and fends off the wolves when she needs to rest?

I have never felt so tired or worn down in my life. I am strong, stronger than I ever knew, but I feel as if for the last year, the universe has singled me out and sent stress after stress, struggle after struggle, disaster after disaster, flooding my way, and I am bailing out the boat with a teaspoon.

And now I feel as if I am failing my most basic duty as a parent: to spend time with my baby. My little toddler who loves me and wants nothing more than to spend the day playing with me, and I can’t buck up and find the energy to give her what she wants.

Today was my only day off this week. I got maybe an hour total of playtime with her. She learned a couple new words. She says “night night, “more,” “stuck,” and “cold” now. She can point at her arms, legs, belly, nose, hands, feet, toes, head (hair), nose, ears, eyes, and mouth when asked. She loves to twirl in circles, and she is becoming an avid book lover. She loves playing Peek A Boo.

She has a lot to say and I see her getting frustrated that we don’t always understand. It becomes a little clearer every day.

She puts stuff in the garbage when you ask her to, and sometimes when you don’t. I found a brand new package of Gerber Yogurt Melts in the trash today. Thankfully I was able to save them since the package was unopened, and it was sitting on top of clean grocery bags.

In short, she is beautiful and amazing and I am missing it because I am busy falling apart while no one is looking. And I’m going to blink and she is going to be thirteen and hating me.

All I want to do is be a good mother. If I fail at everything else, I don’t want to fail at that.

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