By Leslie Lindsay
Who are you, really? Okay, I don’t mean to get all personal and philosophical on you, but have you ever really stopped to think about who you are to your child with apraxia?
You’re a lot, that’s what.
Some days you may not feel that way. I understand. I’ve been there. Kate is now almost 9 years old and in 3rd grade. Sure, we have good days and bad, but the apraxia stuff is mostly behind us.
In our darkest days, I was a failure. Apparantly, I failed to do all of the ‘right’ things for my daughter. Because I didn’t take her to mommy & me classes she wasn’t socialized properly; that’s why she had apraxia. I must not have talked with her enough as a baby, either because she never really babbled. Yep, I was a failure. At one point, I even asked my husband if Kate and I had bonded properly in the hospital. Because, in my mind if we hadn’t bonded, it was no wonder she was just grunting and pointing instead of using her words.
And then the sun started peaking out from behind the clouds. Kate said a few words. She began stringing them together. She told us she loved us and how we giggled and rejoiced. Something was happeneing. Her apraxia was improving. No longer a failure, now I was somehow a martyr. Others congratulated me on what I was doing.
Nothing. I didn’t think I was doing anything but schlepping Kate to and from speech therapy, greeting her at home from her 1/2 day preschool, and providing educational enrichment activities, crafts, games, books.
I was exhausted.
But Kate was improving. And so I continued.
Like you, I scoured the Internet for scores of articles, ideas, tip, discussion boards, blogs, programs, camps, therapists, groups and anything else I thought may help my daughter. My eyes grew salty, tired, and weak. My head filled with strategies and words I never had heard of. But I persisted.
You, too can add ‘persistent’ to your name badge.
But deep down inside I was still just me. First a daughter. A little girl. Then an adult, a woman, a wife. A nurse. Eventually, I became a mother. And when my first baby didn’t talk, I became worried. Remember the feeling?
And then I was frustrated. Why? How did this happen? What can I do? Why won’t she talk? She seems to understand everything just fine.
Frustration turned to anger. Who was I angry at? Certainly not my cherubic redhead with eyes-oh-s0-blue. She’s just a little girl who can’t talk. And not my doctor or my SLP, they were there to help. My husband was supportive and so were Kate’s grandparents. I was angry that this had to happen in the first place. It’s not fair! I wanted to scream.
Oh, what’s that? You felt angry, too? I understand.
When Kate graduated from her 5-days-a-week speech-based preschool, we rejoiced. We had a party, if not for her but for her family who had walked the apraxia path along with her. Cake, gifts, friends…it was a bittersweet beginnng of a new era: recovery.
We weren’t out of the woods just yet. There was still a good deal of work to be done to get Kate ready for kindergarten: phonetic awareness, social skills, reading and comprenshion, etc. And then this tiny little thing called AD/HD slipped into the picture. Actually, it was there all along. The difference now: Kate was old enough to be formally tested and medicated.
Meanwhile, I kept on with the things that made me happy: reading for pleasure, crafting, writing, spending time with friends, going on dates with my husband. Because, I knew I was more than a mom.
So while you may be raising a child with apraxia and this is a big part of your identity, remember to keep your life balanced. Wear your badge with honor, apraxia mom/dad/grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle. But know, too that are you are MORE.
One lucky winner will receive this beautiful token of appreciation for all the work you do day and and day out for the little apraxia person in your life. All you have to do is comment on the blog.Your prompt:
“When I first learned a child in my life had apraxia, I ______.”
That’s it! Your name will be selected at random from my name generator. You’ll be contacted via email if you are the winner (check junk/spam folder). Name will be drawn on Friday, March 14th at 5pm CST. Open to US residents only. Special thanks to Melissa Belletto of Handmade Love Stories for contributing this lovely piece.*
For more information on family coping/parent coping with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), please refer to the 2012 Award-finalist SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House) book available on Kindle and paperback thru Amazon, Barnes & Noble (in-store, and on-line) as well as on the publisher’s website, www.woodbinehouse.com.
You may also appreciate these titles:
- MORE THAN A MOM
- SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR PERFECT KID
- MARRIED WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
[*”A beautiful 1 1/4 inch x 1 inch stainless steel heart is stamped with Apraxia Mom. This can be changed to Dad, Aunt, Grandma, etc.A beautiful 1 1/4 inch x 1 inch stainless steel heart is stamped with Apraxia Mom. This can be changed to Dad, Aunt, Grandma, etc.” from https://www.etsy.com/listing/180658976. Book images retrieved from Amazon.com on 3.09.14]