It’s amazing how one good moment can practically erase weeks of bad ones. I experienced one of those moments last night. Our son was spending the day and night at his cousin’s house so it was just us with Allison. We ended a day filled with yard work with a soak in the hot tub. My husband stays in all but 20 minutes before he’s done and gets out. This leaves me with the fish; AKA Allison. We turn the temperature down on the hot tub because she could stay in for hours. So, I guess that makes it more of a very warm tub. Anyway, after Alan gets out, Alli and I stay in for about another hour. In between belly flops and cannonballs (Alli, not me!) I manage to get her to sit for a bit and relax. As she lay there in front of the one of the jets she says, “Let’s talk, mom.”
“What do you want to talk about?” I ask.
“I don’t know. Ask me some questions.”
Not wanting to get too deep too quick I ask about her favorite part of the day [hot tub], what she wants to be when she grows up [vet], and her favorite color [bright pink]. I decide that I’m getting some pretty quick answers so I throw in a doozy. I asked her why she steals and hides food. I lean my head back to gaze at the stars, expecting the same answer I always get; “I don’t know.” To my surprise, I get an answer that really does explain why she does it. I’m shocked that I got such a fluid and thoughtful answer. I let it go, for now. I got the answer, now I needed some time to figure out what I was going to do with it. As great of a moment this was, it is not the moment that erased the bad stuff of the last few weeks or months.
We continue to talk and I ask her “What are you looking forward to most in the 4th grade A) making a new friend B) reading lots of new books C) going on field trips (she is in a special education class that goes on monthly field trips as rewards for good behavior.) She tells me C) going on field trips. I was surprised because she spent most of the day telling me how she wished she had a friend who could come over to play and have a sleepover. Allison only has two good friends who understand her disability and tolerate her anti-social behaviors. They were both busy. I asked her again and suggested that making a new friend would be better than field trips. She swam across the “warm” tub and put her hands around my neck. She then tells me “Mom, I don’t need a new friend. I have you! You’re my best friend.” My heart melted. She then added, “And I am having a sleep-over today. In your bed!” (unbeknownst to me or my husband)
Over the last few weeks I have questioned my ability to parent a child with FASD. I have questioned God on why He trusted me with this responsibility. I have wondered if I have damaged my children with my lack of patience. I have doubted myself and cried over my lack of confidence in my parenting. All those doubts were erased in this one moment. This one moment where my daughter, who has trouble expressing herself and sharing her feelings using words, reached out and touched me so deeply that I will never forget this moment.
I finally coerced her out of the tub so we could go to bed. She crawled in between me and my husband, leaning against him for his intense body heat, and closed her beautiful eyes. I kissed her forehead and told that I loved her. She smiled and drifted off to sleep. I lay there watching her sleep and thanking God that He knew what He was doing. He knew that this moment would come along and sustain me. Now, I just have to remember to hang onto these moments during the rough days and cling to the fact that there will be more of these good moments to come.
To Alli I say, thank you sweet girl for gifting me with a moment that I will never forget. Never. I love you today, tomorrow and ALWAYS. To God I say, thank you, Lord, for the gift of my children.The next time I am feeling down, remind me of this one magical moment.