I have been passed the baton in the 'Hope Blog' relay from my blog buddy Sooperdad. His story is great, go check it out.
Hope. Hmm. I know quite a bit about hope actually. I had big hopes, huge dreams, high expectations for what life with kids would be like, and for what their adult lives would be like. I had my daughter Abby and the plan was on track- a little early (I was 18) but on track. She hit every mark, excelled in her development and was living up to everything I had thought having a little girl was about. I thought she was an angel, a brilliant, blond little gift, and I was so lucky to call her my child. We had tons of fun, and I enjoyed every moment spent with her for 3 years- and then I had Logan.
Logan started getting sick around 10 days old or so, and the crazy-not-expected-routine began. Abby was pushed to the back burner and the focus adjusted onto him. As he got older I not only saw my hopes and dreams for him sliding away, but I worried that all I had hoped for her was vanishing as well, simply because I was afraid I couldn't give her the attention she needed to fulfill all of these dreams.
I would lay awake nights hoping- and when I say 'hoping' this was more like pleading, with who I am not quite sure, but I did it. I pleaded, I prayed- and I am not a religious person. I begged, I bargained, I promised to do everything in my power that I could if something, somehow, could just let these kids fulfill all that I had hoped for them.
You see, everyone looks at the child in the family with the special needs or medical condition and they focus on how hard it must be for him/her and his/her family- but take a look at these siblings. Like Sooperdad's blog about that brother and sister- my daughter often stepped up to the plate for her little brother. She sacrificed repeatedly often missing out on things or doing homework in a doctors office waiting area. We tried to balance, but if Logan needed to be in Boston at the Children's Hospital there was no way around it. She became friendly with all of his therapists, often joining in on play therapy. She knew all of his teachers and aides, and was a fixture in his classroom, later in the middle school even teaching all of the special education kids how to DDR (dance dance revolution)! I heard over and over and over again how special and lovely Abby was, and how lucky Logan is to have her as a sister.
All of my original hopes have not been realized, but I do have to say, many have come to fruition. Logan isn't quite there yet, but he is well on his way and he impresses me daily. He has come much farther than I'd anticipated, and I've seen him make huge gains. At one time doctors and therapists weren't sure he would ever develop enough core strength to walk. We were told he may never speak. He was so small for so long, they didn't know if he would be sickly small forever. He has proved us wrong over and over.
My daughter, though missed out on some things, made the best of the situation she was in. She learned compassion, dedication, and a fierce and loyal love. She's helpful and kind, and I am extremely proud of her.
So, as far as hope goes, I've done my fair share of hoping- and I've had my fair share of my hopes being dashed, but I've also learned to adapt that hope, and accept something that's not lesser, just simply different. My hopes may have changed drastically since I was that new mom with football dreams for my son, but I kind of like my new hopes I have now. I've learned some valuable lessons on what is truly important. In my home success is not based on money or fame- its based on personal gain and growth, and I am beyond proud of my kids and what they've accomplished, and my one true 'hope' is that they be happy in anything they do.