Learning To Accept A Child For Who She Is

I was at dinner recently with an acquaintance when she whipped out a photo of her college-age son. The kid must have weighed close to 300 pounds. The mother is a strict vegan, so it was unexpected.

“That’s his plight in life,” she shrugged.

I was flabbergasted, but at the same time admired her nonchalance. I am constantly trying to rein in my good intentions and remind myself that my daughter, while a part of me, is not me.

This lesson was driven home during a recent soccer game.  Everyone on the field was absorbed watching the star player attempt to make the game’s first goal, and Savannah, oblivious to the action, was on the sidelines dancing. It was not the mommy moment I envisioned when lugging my bloated self to pre-natal yoga classes or making fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. I was embarrassed, though the inner voice kept saying “Accept it.”

My reaction, like many parents of special needs kids, has been to go into overdrive and try to give Savannah a normal, well-balanced life. I never wanted her to be the “girl in the bubble,” so she did all the same activities of other children. I assumed soccer, a sport where all you have to do is run and kick, she could glide under the radar. But it wasn’t happening.

When another friend, a successful editor, shared her frustration over her son showing no interest in college, dropping in and out of school at whim, I could relate.

“I just want him to find himself!” she wailed at a recent lunch.  “If he wanted to be a juggler, I support him whole heartily. I’d go find the best juggling school.”

I would do the same. I would embrace juggling, water polo, macramé or whatever is my daughter’s interest, with complete gusto.

Ever since that scorching hot July morning when I was told Savannah had a rare endocrine condition I knew my daughter would be living outside the norm.  The pressure of managing her condition, with the constant doctor appointments and bills, I have come to expect.  The biggger challenge now is accepting the things I can’t control or change with a call to the insurance company or a prescription, and learning to put my interests and desires aside so my daughter can be the amazing, beautiful person she was intended to be.

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