Monday, June 22, 2009

Pouring my heart out . . .

Sam does amazing things. Every single day. She smiles dozens of smiles a day (as you can tell from her pictures); she giggles; she plays peek-a-boo with us (though she usually can't wait until we get out the whole "Where's Sam?" before she reveals herself); she attentively listens to books when we read to her (and holds them for us sometimes too); she knows her name is "Samantha" and she smiles when we say it -- she lights up actually; she babbles incessantly and sometimes its like she's speaking a sentence; she thinks our dog is the funniest thing on earth and flashes him big smiles non-stop; she's gotten fantastic about tummy time; she's snuggly and gives the greatest hugs ever; she reaches for our faces to stroke them when we hold her; and we fall more in love with her every single day. Really, not a day goes by that I don't find myself AMAZED that I can love another being as intensely as I love Sam. And, I love all these amazing things she does. Yet, all too often I find myself focusing on the things she can't do rather than the things she can do. Sam is terribly uncoordinated and has terrible balance. She seems clumsy when she reaches for things, and at 9 mos. old (in two days), Sam can't sit unassisted consistently. When placed in the tripod sit, she often falls to the side. She can't crawl, and she's just beginning to consistently roll on her own. I have a hard time saying these things out loud, and even typing them. But, what I realized tonight in physical therapy (after she sat for THREE WHOLE MINUTES - her record) is that I've got to look for the progress, and stop worrying about a future I can't predict. I'm not sure HOW to do that, but I do know there's been incredible progress in the months we've been doing PT. When we started, she cried when we put her on her tummy. She now LOVES being on her tummy. When we put her on the exercise ball, she struggled to remain balanced. She now is balanced. She couldn't sit unassisted AT ALL. Then she could for a second or two. . . . now she consistently can for about 10 seconds, and sometimes, like tonight, she surprises us. And all this progress with PT only once a week, but now we've started twice a week!!

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a planner. I like to live life by MY script. I'm type A. I'm a control freak, and uncertainty makes me uncomfortable as hell. I'm a lawyer, and good lawyers anticipate what the other side is going to do and stay 10 steps ahead of them. I don't like to fly by the seat of my pants. I skip to the end of books and I never mind if someone spoils a movie or TV show b/c I like to know what's going to happen. Yet, with Sam, we can't know. Her balance and coordination issues (due to the hypotonia) WILL (and already have) improved. Doctors think by age 3 or so she may even be caught up with her peers. But, there's no guarantee. She may have balance issues always. She may have some "odd movements" about her always. And we can't know. All that we can do is continue to plug ahead and work everyday on the things we CAN work on . . . with the PT and our nanny and all the others on our team. Sammie's team.

I feel like I haven't been totally honest in my blogs. Yes, I've admitted that I'm struggling, but then, after a good doctor's visit, I think I portray that all the worry is over, and I'm fine. But the truth is, it still sucks. It sucks to have to take your daughter to specialists. It sucks to worry. It sucks that my little Bean has to have PT to "learn" to sit. So, really, I'm not all that "okay." I'm still struggling even though we've gotten really positive prognoses (is that plural?) from doctors. I still can't stay off the damn internet and stop reading stuff that feeds my panic.

I'm envious of my husband's ability to live life without allowing worry to consume and destroy him. I asked him last night how he does it. How does he NOT worry? And he said, "because worrying doesn't do any good." I know that. But it doesn't help me turn the worry off. And, he said, "I just focus on the things we can do to help her today. And we are doing those things. I don't worry about when she's in middle school." (I've already told him that I'm worried if she always has movement issues, kids will make fun of her -- talk about not being able to live in the moment). My closest friend assures me that I'm not crazy. So that's good. But I somehow need to learn to live "one day at a time" and that goes against the very core of who I am. But, I will try. I'm a glass-half empty girl. I'm a "what-if" girl. But somehow, I've got to learn to just live life one day or one moment at a time, and not constantly imagine what COULD be a year, or two years, or three or ten years from now . . . b/c each of those "coulds" is just one of infinite possibilities of what WILL be, right?

My friends' babies that are right around Sam's age (and younger) are passing her by with milestones. Yes, I know I shouldn't compare, but its impossible not to when suddenly your entire existence becomes about trying to get your child to do those things. I want my friends to share with me the great things their babies are doing. I'd be sad if they felt like they couldn't. [So, for any of you that happen to be reading this and suddenly worry that you've hurt my feelings -- stop -- this is my issue, not yours, and I will work through it!]. Really, I DO want to know . . . and I know that my truest of friends will be just as happy as I am the day my Bean crawls across the room, even if their own babies are running up stairs by then. Their babies have their journeys, and Sam (and me and Brian) have ours. Its okay for those journeys to be different. Sammie B is who she is and together we are writing her life story. Day by day. We can write one page at at time . . .

I want to be able to handle all of this with grace. In fact, that's REALLY REALLY important to me, b/c I want to set an example for my daughter. But, there are days I just wish the world would shut up and stop saying stupid things. I know I'm being overly-sensitive (like when my heart feels sad when we go to restaurants and they ask if we need a high-chair b/c she can't sit in one yet). But, if I hear "those aren't REAL glasses!" or "oh cute sunglasses" one more time, I might shove her glasses in someone's nose (actually, I won't, b/c those "sunglasses" cost $300!). And, (to warn you) if one more person says anything else along the lines of "oh you just wait, she'll start moving and you'll wish you were right back here before she could crawl. you'll get tired of chasing her," I might punch them. Because, NO, I will not be tired of chasing her. I want with every fiber of my being TO BE chasing her!

Mondays are my hardest days b/c I miss her while I'm at work the most those days. After two full days of Sammie loves, its hard to go to work on Monday. And with that emotion, I probably let myself feel a little too crazy about the other stuff too. But today, I just had a rough day. I felt obsessed and consumed with worry all day. I called my friend on the way home and then sat in my car and cried for 20 minutes before I could come inside. I told my friend, "I just need her to SIT so I know she's going to be okay." In some ways, that's unfair. I can't place all this pressure on a 9-month-old baby! She may not KNOW about the pressure yet, but its unhealthy. And, its also unhealthy to feel that way all day but then when she sits for a full 3 minutes in PT, to suddenly feel like, "oh its okay." Because I need to know (and act accordingly) that WE are OKAY even on the not-so-good days. Even on Sammie's worst days, she's still the most incredible thing on earth. I believe that with all my heart, but I think sometimes, the crazy person in me keeps me from acting accordingly. But, the kind of mama she needs is one that never stops seeing all the amazing things she CAN do. Not one that's obsessed with what she can't do.

I MUST somehow learn to enjoy the moment and stop obsessing about what never may be. I can always imagine the worst-case scenario, but what's the point if that's only one of many possibilities (in the words of my amazing husband, whose endless optimism compliments me well and keeps me sane - most of the time).

As I read back through this, I know what I NEED to do . . . I know what I want the end result to be (the end result for me in terms of my state of mind) . . . but I don't know how to get there. And because it means SO much for me to get there, for me to be a healthier person, so that I can also be a better mom, better wife, better lawyer and better me, I've decided to start seeing a therapist. Here's to hoping they can help me put all of these thoughts into action and here's to hoping I can fit in MORE appointments than we already have!

1 comment:

WMC said...

Dear friend . . . I just cried reading this post. Hang in there. I think so many of us feel the way you feel even when we aren't struggling with the particular challenges you are facing right now. I keep reminding myself that there will always be these next challenges, and challenges after that. We'll never stop worrying because we'll never stop loving them.

Big hugs to you!!