I have also had moments when other moms complain about how their little one is just 9 months and has already started walking and it has turned her life upside down, if only he would wouldn’t develop so fast. I can’t relate because I have been waiting for Matt to walk for over 2 years. Or another mom who bemoans the fact that her child just eats anything he gets his hands on – and I think about Matt who would wish to eat anything, but still gags on most foods and therefore is still mainly eating mashed food. These are just two examples, there are many others.
Now I don’t for a moment doubt that to the mom, who is frustrated or inconvenienced by her child’s walking, talking or eating, that she genuinely feels stressed by these issues. She feels her life is made more complicated by them. However my heart is saddened because I feel that she is missing out on some happiness. From my perspective she has it easy, things could be a lot harder - and though I don’t want her to pity me, I do wish that she would be grateful for her child and what her child can do. It seems odd to me that she should be stressing about such small things. What a waste of happiness that she could have been living in.
I hope and pray that she would look at my journey with Matt and feel gratitude – that she would go home and celebrate her 9 month who is walking, or her non-stop-talking daughter, or her munch-as-much-as-you-can eater.
Just as I look at other moms lives, I wonder if some moms are looking at my life. What about my life and journey with Matt might someone else wish I was grateful for. Instead of me focussing on the struggles that Matt has, I can also benefit from a bit of perspective alteration:
I can be grateful that my child lives, as I remember those who have lost their children
I can be grateful that Matt can eat through is mouth, as I remember those with kids who have buttons and tubes.
I can be grateful that Matt can move, crawl, and walk – as I remember those kids who are in wheelchairs, and those kids can’t lift their heads.
I can be grateful that Matt is mostly healthy, as I remember those kids who are hospitalised and fighting chronic or terminal illnesses.
I can be grateful that Matt has both his parents, as I remember those kids with whom I work whose parents have died.
I can be grateful that Matt has access to excellent health and therapeutic resources, as I remember those kids (too many live in my city) whose parents struggle to even buy a loaf of bread.
I can be grateful that Matt is surrounded by a community of loving people, as I remember those kids who are mislabelled, misunderstood and suffer rejection, abuse and stigma.
I can truly be grateful.