The new normal is new for everyone, not just parents like myself who are raising children with disabilities. Challenges are now universal, and some of ours in this disability parenting club have found our new normals do not look like everyone else’s.
I know mine doesn’t. But I have learned so much about this girl I am raising in the last few weeks. Things that prior to this were hidden in her relationships at school. Her relationships with her teachers and her aides are incredibly special and she has surrounded herself with people who see her potential and made her thrive with independence. Her and I have never had this relationship. As much as I try, I am always her safe place. Her person to reach for for help, even when she doesn’t need it.
We started this new journey with me making her cry several times a day, as I didn’t know the rhythm yet or the dance we needed to do. She would look at me with her big, brown eyes silently pleading for me to help her and I would get frustrated because I knew she could do it herself. She is so smart, and so competent – and I struggled for a way to change our mom/daughter relationship into the new teacher/aide/student one. Even with her teachers explaining over and over that her current straight A’s as a Freshman could not go down in this corona home learning situation – she still wanted to be at the table by 9:00 and work diligently to get every piece of work done – sometimes turning in work early.
Here is what I have realized:
- She is incredibly smart
- She can do the work – if she would just see herself through the lenses of everyone around her.
- She LOVES to learn
- She NEEDS to feel she has a purpose and things expected of her
- She wants to use her brain
- She is great at Algebra and Physics which she did not get from me
- Most importantly – that I am holding her back. I should have asked more of her at home. I should have given her responsibilities like her siblings. I should have expected her to be a contributing member of this family. She wants and craves being needed like everyone else does.
Elearning is long, and I have to write for her and sometimes type for her if her voice to text doesn’t work. I have to watch the teachers algebra and physics videos to understand even a bit of what she is trying to do. I have to go back and be a freshman in high school and I never wanted to do that again.
But I have also learned to see my capable, smart, inquisitive daughter in a whole new way. So another win for this tricky time we are now living in.