Tuesday, August 2, 2011

She's More Important

The conversation was so casual that I can't even recall how it lead to our son PT stating very matter-of-factly something to the tune of JJ being more important.
I assume he meant more important than he and his siblings.

I felt my heart drop and knew that I couldn't come across too defensive or he'd stop talking.  I calmly replied, "What makes you think that buddy?"

PT went on to state that she just is very important because she is going to be adopted.  He added that she also needs lots of therapy too. 

I could tell that he wasn't seeking attention. He wasn't upset or sad or even jealous.  He wasn't trying to give me an emotional kick in the gut.  He just stated how things looked from his point of view.  Frankly,
I sort of get why he might have felt that way.  JJ gets a lot of attention for being the cutest 4th baby ever, not to mention, we don't look a bit alike.  But less noticeable, people including us, talk a lot about our journey with her in foster care and hopes for adoption and her newest developmental gains.  Also, just by being a toddler she has a lot that we have to attend to. 

He doesn't remember when he and each of his siblings were the baby of the family and they got a ton of attention too.  He doesn't know how much thought and effort goes into raising each of them based on what they need at that moment.  He can't always see me writing, talking, and praying about him.

I sincerely thanked him for sharing that with me because I told him that when he tells me these things, it helps me try to be a better mom and to clear up any misunderstandings.  I had a conversation with him and his sisters to let them tell me what they thought and to reassure them that although we all have different needs, no one person is of higher importance in our family.  No matter how families are built, they are meant to support each other and each member is absolutely critical.  That's why God built our family this way.  I thanked each of them for opening their hearts to foster care and adoption too (in kid terms of course).  I told them that I was so impressed with all of the help that they give JJ to help her learn new skills. I just told them how much I love and need them.  I told them I was proud of them.

They seemed to get it. I hope.  I figured it couldn't hurt to hear how important they are to me again, right?

Then I prayed.  I prayed for guidance in parenting them in a way that everyone feels important and loved.  I want to meet everyone's needs.  I never want them to underestimate their value.

I don't know if any of you can relate, but I know that being a parent to several kids with very different needs can be so overwhelming sometimes. 

It is so worth it.


Tricia said...

Overwhelming sometimes? HA! Every day...

Kara said...

My son has some health issues that have resulted in some developmental delays. Hospital admissions, doctor's appointments, therapy. It's important to us that we find ways to make June feel extra special and get a lot of attention at times too. I know that she sees the difference sometimes, even though she's only 4.

Krista said...

Kara, thanks for sharing. Maternal guilt is hard to escape no matter what the family dynamics are. I try to remember that having a little one that has special needs also allows the siblings to grow a really special heart too.