My Beautiful Daughter,
I took the day off today to chaperone your school field trip at a farm. However, this lovely New England weather had different plans. While I will be helping out at school later on today with Plan B fun, I had so much going on in my mind from the last 24 hours about you, that I’m taking this extremely rare morning off to write to you. Although, you won’t actually be able to read this at 5 years old….but I still have to get it off my chest!
Yesterday, I had a parent conference with your teacher and to say I am feeling an enormous sense of pride feels like the understatement of the year. Sure, she went on about how bright you are and where you scored on your assessments, and I was very proud of that, but the part that made my happier and more proud than I could ever explain to you are all the other things she said about you.
She said you were a great and happy kid that made it clear how much you love your family. She said you were kind and had a “heart of gold”. She told me how you are respectful to everyone and are sensitive to everyone’s feelings. She also let me know how you include everyone and treat everyone the same. She said there wasn’t a negative thing she could say about you.
I tear up as I write this because over the years I have wondered countless times, if you are ok, as I beat myself up as we colored or played games on an iPad in the waiting room of a Speech Therapy office for your brother. You never complain, you just smile and remain your happy self. But I still wonder…”Is she really happy?”
When therapists have come to the house and “play” with your brother, and you’ve asked me why they always come to play with him and not you, my heart has broken and I wonder again if you’ll somehow be scarred from all of this and feel you’re not as important. I explain that your brother needs some extra help in things and you seem to be ok and move on. But I always think about it, “Is she ok? Is she happy?”
When we attend sensory friendly events for your brother in order to enjoy family time in a less stressful environment, I wonder what you think, and I feel guilty again. “Is she ok? Is she happy?”
However, my meeting yesterday changed that. I don’t think I will ever stop doubting myself as a parent. But I’m convinced that is what a good Mom does. BUT, I do know that our special family has taught you lessons that you cannot be taught through a book or in some seminar or class. The best thing is that some of the things you have learned were never “taught” to you. You just picked them up. You treat your brother exactly as he should be treated, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Like the typical kid he is. You include him, you demand he answer you when you ask him a question and you accept and love him exactly as he is, even when he gets on your nerves. And this has carried into school and other relationships with you.
My wish for this world is that it would be filled with people like you. Do you know how amazing you are? You are an incredible example of how we should treat each other. Not only children, but adults, too. Without even thinking about it, you treat everyone with the same respect and celebrate each person’s strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. I never want you to change that about you. I hope that you surround yourself with people that do the same. The real world is filled with a variety of people and everyone is unique in their own beautiful way. As you’ve learned in this family, there is no “Normal”. You know I’ve never been a fan of that word, but it’s used often and we can’t escape it. Don’t ever try to be “Normal”. Please just always be YOU. Because I think you are a phenomenal human being. Somehow in this special family of ours that is not what many would call “Normal”, you are growing into an empathetic person that believes in inclusion because we all have something amazing to offer this world.
Last night when you knew I would be at school with you today, you told me “It’s going to the best day of my Life.” You took my breath away with that. How seriously blessed am I that me taking the day off and coming into your school gets classified as “the best day of your life”. So I need you to remember this. THE DAY YOU WERE BORN WAS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE…and every day after that. I often think I’m screwing this mom thing up, but you are fabulous reminder that just maybe I’m not making as many mistakes as I think. Never change baby girl.
I love you a million times infinity and beyond, (because that’s our thing)