My 6-year-old comes up to me, a hopeful expression in her eyes. “Mom, can I have some Girl Scout cookies?”
My response is automatic. “No, sweetie, it is almost dinnertime.”
As she walks away, I overhear her tell her friend, “We will ask her again in a few minutes because she won’t remember she said no.”
Raising children is tough. No one will disagree with that statement. Raising them as a stroke survivor is tougher. It presents a whole new set of challenges. Physical limitations as well as cognitive deficits can be real sources of frustration.
My husband and I have discussed ways that I can effectively manage my deficits while parenting our daughter. Based on the scenario I just shared, you probably realize that she is smart. I mean really smart.
I constantly worry about the future. If she is already crafting ways to use my inabilities against me at six years old, what is it going to be like when she’s 15? How will I be able to manage her effectively?
I want to be the parent she needs me to be. I want to be the mother she deserves.
For example, she asked me to braid her hair this morning before school. This is a relatively simple task for most mothers. It’s not for me. Because I can’t feel my right hand very well, I lack the dexterity necessary to accomplish this task. I did my best and I tried multiple times, but it did not work. I ended up doing pigtails instead.
She left this morning in tears because I could not braid her hair like she wanted. What she doesn’t realize is that I was also holding back tears. I was even more frustrated at my inability to braid than she was.I shut my eyes, took a deep breath and prayed. I prayed for peace. I prayed that He show me joy. And He did. I started putting together supplies to do a craft that afternoon. Because I no longer work post stroke, I am home when my daughter gets off the bus. I get to watch her best friend as well after school. We go to the library, we get to play outside, and we get to go to the park. Today, we get to do various crafts.
My disabilities give me the opportunity to do these things with them after school. I now have time. My daughter’s hair may not be in braids today, but a few minutes of doing crafts this afternoon, and she will have forgotten all about it.
As for the future? I’m taking it one day at a time, convinced that as she grows, God will give me the wisdom and grace to be the mom she needs. And really, isn’t that what every mother wants?