I had a revelation the other day. It happened while I was trying to comfort a friend after the recent passing of her mother.
During our chat, I told her that there was a fine line between sadness and resentment. I was hopeful that she would eventually see that there’s a lesson in every trial and that maybe one day her testimony would be a blessing to someone who really needed it.
Afterward, I thought to myself: Where the heck had that comment come from? What had I meant when I used that word resentment? Then suddenly it hit me.
For the first time in 14 years, I realized that I had finally let mine go.
When my friend described the struggle she was going through – balancing the sadness of losing both her parents within two years of each other with the envy she felt for close friends and family members whose parents were alive and well, I realized I had been harboring similar feelings after my youngest daughter had been born with Down Syndrome.
Both of my parents are still here, so I couldn’t pretend to understand exactly what my friend was feeling. But, I remembered with painful clarity getting the news about Sydney all those years ago. It felt like every dream a mother could possibly have for her daughter – recitals, school dances, first kisses and eventually, a wedding and kids of her own – just … died.
For years, I pretended in other ways, smiling through my sadness as I watched one girlfriend after the next give birth to big, healthy, beautiful babies. Of course, I would never openly begrudge them of their happiness. But in the darkest corners of my mind, I kept asking myself, Why me? Why did this have to happen to my child? Was I being punished?
I just wanted to have a normal experience. Just like everybody else. But, the normalcy I had envisioned for me and my growing family came to a sudden halt on that day, along with all the other hopes and dreams I originally had. And, frankly, it pissed me off.
As I tried to both council and comfort my friend that day, I relayed my experiences and had a shocking realization. I wasn’t holding on to the anger anymore. On the contrary, I felt incredible joy.
Only after my talk did I realize that I had spoken of the things Sydney could do rather than the things she could not. I told my friend about all my daughter had gained, not what she’d lost. I told her that I was grateful to be her mom and I meant it.
The breakthrough that I’d wanted for my daughter all those years ago actually turned out to be one I needed more. That’s why I wear the Phoenix Charm Bracelet by Alex and Ani. It’s a reminder to me that no matter what, a new day is coming.
Now that I think about it, “normal” may not be the best route for me after all. And, you know what? I’m okay with that. And, this time, I’m not just pretending.
Love U! It’s not just a declaration. It’s a call to action. XoXo -Quin