"You must be so organized!" Please don't visit my home if you think that, because you will be disappointed. I do keep a 3 ring binder on each of the 5 kids with special needs, with tabs for their various specialists. That is just one area of life, though, and does not qualify me as organized.
"Your husband must have a well-paying job!" Nope. He has a good job, but well-paying does not describe it. Money is very tight, but society's view of what each child needs does not match our view. What kinds of comment is that anyhow??
"You must be crazy!" Ok, I'll give you that one. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and a little nutty when I am trying to get 4 kids ready for school in the morning. But not crazy because we adopted 5 kids with Down Syndrome, crazy moments like any mom trying to accomplish 15 things in a 90 minute time frame...no matter what age or level of ability her kids have.
"You must have so much patience!" Not always. But lots of moments that teach me patience!
I have had so many "You Must..." comments over the years, and most of them either with negative implications, or elevating me to sainthood. (Please don't do that, because I am pretty sure someone has to have died to be a saint.) Jamie says most of the comments arise from the speaker's own insecurities. "I could never do that because.... I don't have the money... I don't have the patience.... I'm not organized enough...."
This past Tuesday I took Amelia for a pre-op appointment, and the discussion led to how many siblings she has, which led to a discussion on adoption and down syndrome.
The nurse then made the one comment I have never heard before:
"You must have the most loving house in the world." How could I disagree with that? I think there was even a little bit of envy in her voice.
This morning Amelia innocently gave a demonstration of how a child with Down Syndrome really is not all that much different from a "typical" child. She and Leif were reading Micah's new book on animals, his birthday present from Nana and Poppy. She is a good and loving big sister, and she decided to use this time to teach Leif about animals. She took him outside and showed him our animals, and then went through the book doing animals sounds and showing him how different animals walk. He was thrilled to have the attention of the big sister he adores-- even if it was 7 am and he wasn't dressed for the day yet.
It was hard on me. I had to sit and read the paper while drinking my coffee, without Leif squealing, grabbing my coffee, demanding food, or trying to squeeze onto my lap. 15 minutes of uninterrupted time while my 11 year old daughter entertained her 23 month old brother. It was not crazy, and required no patience or organization! There was lots of love though.
How do we do it? One day at a time, and always with a lot of prayer and faith.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4: 12-13
Philippians 4: 12-13