Cerebral Palsy, Personal, , , , ,

How Will You Make Your Mark?

With Mark starting school in August, I am experiencing a range of emotions that I thought I wouldn’t experience. I am not sure if that was just over confidence in my mental health or my attachment but I am definitely struggling with the idea of him growing up. I am aware this a normal feeling for just about any parent and I give anyone who doesn’t feel this way, props because this is incredibly difficult.

For the last 2 and a half years, Mark and I have been two peas in a pod. Even before he came home from the hospital, I was by his side every day. This may sound like a mother that has attachment issues and you might be right (the jury is still out on that one), but this isn’t what this blog post is about.

There have been so many good days and I don’t just mean great weather. I am talking about the day Mark came home from the hospital or the day he first smiled. The good days when we had picnics outside and splashed around in the pool. I mean the days when he crawled and took his first steps or helped me make breakfast. We celebrated these moments. Every milestone was celebrated as if we had won the lottery. Just about every little mommy-and-me moment has been placed in a filing cabinet somewhere in my mind. The little doodles and paintings hanging in the playroom are constant reminders of the things we do together. Knowing all of this is coming to an end, or at least being dialed back tremendously, is hitting me pretty hard.

As with every good day, there are probably 5-10 bad days associated with it. For every one milestone achieved, there were probably 5-10 really trying days associated with it. There were days when Mark had no interest in doing work. Maybe he wasn’t feeling well, or just had an attitude. We’ve gone toe to toe a number of times and that number is probably well into the thousands.

I would be lying if I told you I haven’t hid in my closet for a moment to take a deep breath. I have even sat in my car in the driveway for a few minutes before entering the house. I have been known to nap through a temper tantrum or two- showing very little remorse. Being a parent is exhausting. Actually, exhausting is an understatement. It really is. There are “rules” you “have” to follow and a ton of books that tell what to do and what not to do, but nothing really prepares you for it.

Mark is very much a perfectionist, like me. For every single “completed” piece of artwork, he probably threw away 20 pieces of scrap paper with nothing but a line on them. We spent maybe 15 weeks, and over 100 falls working on reaching the walking milestone. For every one scoop of soil from one container to another, there were maybe 5 containers worth of soil scattered along the ground. He does the same thing with beans in his sensory bin. He works and he works until he gets it just right, whether that is a perfect drawing, walking independently, no dirt spilled, or no tremor in his hand, he works until it is perfect to him.

It can be tiresome and tedious for him at times. I know that for me, personally, perfectionism is something I struggle with- mostly because I fail to see the bigger picture. I focus on my failures and shortcomings. I look at how I can improve and move forward- rarely acknowledging the positives in a situation. I hope one day he understands the message I am trying to convey through this blog post.

Someday, I hope he knows how proud of him I am. I really am. Every fall, or scraped knee, or inaudible word… everything that got him to where he is today, I am so proud of him. We were told we were likely to leave the hospital without our child. We were told he would never walk, talk, or do much for himself. We heard worst-case scenarios when discussing procedures and surgeries time and time again. If “perfection” were something I was searching for, Lord knows I didn’t find it during my pregnancy.

Guess what? That is okay. It gave me a new perspective of what perfection is, to me anyhow. As I mentioned in this post here, we get the idea of what the standard is based on our cultures, society, and values. The unfortunate bit is it’s often influenced by people we’ve never met and by those who have no real control of our lives.

My point of this post, and I guess my entire blog too when you really think about it is: Enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Take each day as it comes and give it your all, no matter what. Always be kind to others and show yourself grace even in the toughest of situations. Ask yourself what you can do today to make a difference in your own life, or even make someone else’s day. Celebrate the failures as often as you do the achievements because those are lessons to be learned. Be a good sport and always respectful and never compare yourself to others. You were created to be you and no one else. The person you become will build the legacy you will leave behind one day and you have to ask yourself, did you Make Your Mark?