I saw them. The young mother and her three children leaving the library. I had stopped there one morning by myself to drop off our huge load of books (my children are big readers). It is our small local branch, but really quite cozy inside. It is our favorite one to go to. This mom was holding a child and her older two were walking beside her. The two older children had their little backpacks on and were weighted down with their haul from the library. They looked so cute and quite content. I took a look at the mom’s eyes and she looked happy and peaceful….
That scene made me think of so much….some of my thoughts went a along these lines:
- I really loved that time of life, when my children were all small, and the day was yours to do with whatever you wanted. You know, never having to look at the clock and wonder if you missed the bus or if you had to hurry to get your child off the bus…the day was yours.
- I loved being able to run to the library, to the park, to get ice cream ….I simply loved and still love my time with my children.
- I could go back and re-start my family again I would do it in a second.
- Life goes by so quickly
- Life was so hard when Elizabeth was that age
- I have not seen those relaxed eyes looking back at me in the mirror since before Elizabeth was born…WOW did I just think that?
- Yes! yes I did
- I can’t believe I just thought that!!!
- It is true, so why do I feel bad thinking it??….
After this mental ping-pong game I then found myself reflecting…
Quite a few memories of our early excursions with Elizabeth float through my brain at this point. I remember the tears and fear in her eyes. The times when going to the park was too much for her to handle. The looks from other moms and people, who had never seen a child like Elizabeth before….It had been hard….it has been so very much work.
“Why do I do this to myself…why do I allow myself to go down that particular “Memory Lane?” I think to myself…. It is not like it is fun or helpful or anything other than anxiety provoking….but still there I was…firmly walking down the memory path, when all I wanted was to return some books.
I wonder if other parents of special needs children do this? See the parent who is simply content…and wonder…..just for a moment…..what it would be like….what it COULD be like…to feel that calm….that feeling of lack of concern or worry about meltdowns or overloads…to walk to the car after the library and know all is well. That there are no therapy appointments to go to, or sensory diets to complete at home….just a car ride home to enjoy.
I don’t wonder often but sometimes I do. Maybe it is my mood of the day or maybe Elizabeth is not having a good day or maybe it is just that time when I feel tired….those are the times I do wonder or think.
Back to the parking lot….
I kind of busied myself at this point getting my books out of my car and when I looked up, they were gone. Just the back of their van was visible and it got smaller and then was gone completely. And just like that, “Memory Lane” was gone… I closed the trunk of my car, hoisted the bag of books on my shoulder and went into the library by myself. I kind of felt tired now, almost like I had had a bit too hard of a workout.
I know I am not the same person I was before Elizabeth was born, I know I will probably never be that carefree person that I was….but on my way in I allowed myself to think that in so many ways I am a better, stronger more determined and focused person than most people my age.
That no matter what, my daughter is worth EVERY worry and effort….that not giving up on her, fighting for her may be harder work than most will know. But all of it is worth it when you think that you are giving your child the best chances in life.
By the time I came out of the library, I was feeling more settled. There was no one in the parking lot and considering how hard this memory lane thing is. I am not going to lie..I was quite relieved!
We are all on these unique journeys, filled with so many emotions each and everyday. Who knew a simple trip to the library could come with all these thoughts?! Wishing you peace this week.