I do not have anything deep or profound to share tonight although reading over the past couple of days I feel it important to share the difference between the children without disabilities and the ones here whom have disabilities.
You see as a young mom I THOUGHT providing for the children was the important piece of parenting. I also had a sense of guilt for being a single parent where their Father whom I choose for them abandoned them completely emotionally and financially. I had to work double time to make up for all the things I screwed up on. I went into my career and on to what ever I could do to make more money, I worked two and sometimes three jobs for years while my baby's grew up without ANY parents... You see I would leave early to work, leaving Mandie in charge at the young age of 10. She took care of the house, kids, etc until I got home 6 sometimes 7 pm AT TEN!!! what the heck was I thinking??? Then I took a second job because she deserved to have compensation for her efforts and that took money....So she held the house down until 10 or 11 at night so I could work a second job...HOW CRAZY WAS I?????? I was in such a place it can not begin to make sense now looking back. I always look forward; at that point I sure didn't look around... I did not date at all,, actually I took no personal time for me most of the years I raised the children. My first "date" happened in 1991 which was a long distant relationship to make things easier..Ha Ha Ha..... Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire! So in the muck of all this I strive to be "a good parent" Unfortunately, I had no idea what that was.... Ironically, I taught "MAPP" a parenting class during this time. Amazing how one can be book smart, able to give sound advice yet not live it.
The moment I realized I had failed myself and my children was the spring of 1998, I went to a conference in West Palm Beach to hear Renee Whiley speak and it hit me...I had my head in a cloud and I had no idea... I went to learn about caring for my new baby girl who was disabiled so "different".. I went to understand how to take care of a child who has a disability...I went to be an Advocate and I drove home crying my heart out because it came very clear I had failed at my role as a Mother to the children I had in my care from 1978 until 1998= 20 years! How did this happen? How did education become my personal focus and my career take over all my time and my children grew up and I MISSED IT!! How did this happen...Why didn't I go to a conference to learn about being a MOM to my children.. It took Kaitlyn entering my life to make me stop and say...I want to be a MOM, I spun out of control inside for months as many other things needed put into place to come anywhere close to making the past OK and getting the present in order to seek a better future... I became an ADVOCATE.... I took notice of what it was I did each day. My job became less the focus, providing my children with the latest designer jacket was no longer the priority.. My days seemed longer, more enjoyable when I was with the kids. Life seemed brighter and the flowers more colorful and the sky bright and blue... that was the beginning of life, forgiving myself took time.. I miss my kids... I lost more than words can say but that was the past and forward is whre I always look.