Monday, 1 July 2013

Making Time for Each Child

In a special needs family the child with extra medical needs gets a lot of the attention. It is already a difficult task to balance each child's needs and individual relationships but when a child that demands extra time and attention because of real medical needs the entire balance is thrown up into the air.

We have 3 children. They each have needs, even if they are not medical. It is all about relationship.

Now that we have lived our way through a transition, we can redirect and make sure each child gets their needs met. Homeschooling really helps with this dynamic. Special moments can be caught on the wind and held for a moment, sometimes it is while washing dishes or at bedtime, or while one is running full speed on the way to deliver swiped Popsicles to her siblings.

I love you. I love watching you play.

I love watching my children fall in love with the art of their choice. For Lily it is clay work. So much clay work. We are taking mother daughter classes together at a local art studio. I am terrible at pots but I a fiercely good at loving Lily. Lily told me that she dreams of having her own studio and decided not to rent one in the building. No, she wants the whole building and she'll rent to others. Ah, my little dreamer.

For Holly it is ballet. The first time she walked into the studio, her foot touched the hard wood floors, she lit up like I have never seen before. That enthusiasm has never once waned. She LOVES ballet. Everyday. Always. Loves.

At her recital she was a ham. At the end of her class's dance she walked out to the front of the stage for a special, only Holly, with flourish bow. Because of course, she was the star ballerina in her mind. That is what she saw the lead ballerina do at the Nutcracker.

I read to her and cuddle her every chance I get.

Isaac is still letting us know what he loves. Apples. Climbing. Playing his piano. Cuddling mama.

I know these things will change and evolve. I will be here for all of it. Right here. Loving every moment, every smile, the stolen glances, the goofiness and joy. I will tell them how much joy they bring me just being in my life. I will nourish their relationships with us and with each other.

I have witnessed such tenderness that my heart has burst into tears. These people have made my life better by just being in it. Why should I hold back telling them that every single day that I am able to?

It gets complicated. Complicated to work, take care of a home, take care of their physical needs and on top of that nurture them and their passions. I prioritize. Housework, beyond basics, come last. I actually pay for someone to help me get to that. My work is online and I make the schedule around the kids and their appointments. Prioritize.

On top of all of that I make time for them. Daddy daughter night, Mama takes one kid to tea, firefly walks with flashlights with just one kid. Ballet camp and class allows me to connect with the child not in class. We talk. They take turns helping me with dishes and I tell them our heritage stories so they know the magic that they have been born out of.  I make time.

I value the outputs of their passions too. Holly's dance pictures are framed. Lily's ceramics get used. All three children have their art framed and hung up in public view. 

I value the things they make and that matters. Some houses you walk into and you know they have children but there is no evidence of children. In our home, there is mess and chaos and you KNOW we have children the minute you pull up in our drive. Our house is filled with love and joy and the joyful noise that comes with a happy, vibrant childhood. Part of that is also that we have a full range of musical instruments, both real and toys, accessible to the children.

We live a different life. I understand that. Different does not mean bad though, it means magical. When they are honoured as individuals and humans in the world, it becomes less of a challenge to make time for them or for ourselves. We are always true to what we are. They see that.

Last month Lily had a friend over and we asked her if she planned on staying up all night and complaining about her parents. She looked at us confused. Later she asked about what I had said to her. Do kids really do that? I brought them a snack and heard her telling her friend about all the amazing adventures we have and then saw me and instead of clamming up, she asked me to join their conversation.

I know it won't always be like this. Maybe? I hope that nothing ever dulls the shine of joy and curiosity from their eyes. That is my priority: to feed their faith, their curiosity, their love for each other. When that is the goal and we put all we have into that, then time is made. Time is cherished. Time slips by way too fast. I also try and make time together special so they see me honour each of them, so it is not a competition.

I try and bring the children, all the children, to at least some of Isaac's appointments. We don't hide his needs from them. Sometimes it can be scary. The reason is that if something happens to us, the parents, even in their adulthood, they will still have each other. I want them to have the kind of relationship that this is a natural part of their lives, that they would welcome it. We don't know if Isaac will be able to be independent. Right now it looks like he will. Anything can happen to any of them between now and the unforeseen future. If we make time for them, will they make time for each other later?

It is all about relationship. 

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A blog about farming, unschooling, feminism, 22q deletion syndrome, cooking real food, homesteading, permaculture, and motherhood.