So I know it's normal to worry that you are shortchanging new and existing children when you bring a new child into your family.
But when you have a special needs child, new worries crop up that are hard to reconcile.
I'm sure these, too, are normal, and I am worrying for nothing.
But they are still there.
And so I shall share them. :)
It's about milestones.
There are two sides of this coin.
I fall on the first side of the coin and Matthew falls on the other side.
On my side, I am a little worried how I will feel as I see Thomas meeting his milestones. I fear I will be a little too excited. A little too relieved that I am not having to deal with a delayed child yet again.
It was so hard when Benjamin would go month after month after month and not be able to sit, crawl, walk, etc. And he did these things relatively early as compared to other babies w/Down syndrome! And it is still very hard for me that Benjamin doesn't talk yet and doesn't seem to even have very much receptive language.
When I found out my amnio results, that Thomas has no chromosomal abnormalities, I had to kind of shift my mind back into expecting "normal" milestones.
And as soon as I start to think about these things, my heart feels divided.
Because I know that it won't be too long before Thomas passes Benjamin in one area, then in another area, and then in all areas. And I hope and pray that I won't start to resent Benjamin for what he can't do yet, and for the things he will never be able to do. That by praising Thomas' accomplishments, I will be diminishing Benjamin's.
And things will be more complicated because Andrew will notice the difference and he will enter the world of "my brother is different." We haven't had to deal with it yet, and though I know we will, it is not something I necessarily am looking for.
Andrew sometimes asks us questions like, "Why doesn't Benjamin know not to pull those toys off the table?" or, "Why can't Benjamin talk yet?" And we just say, "Well, he's still too young to understand/to talk." I mean, Andrew is not even four yet. It's not like we're ashamed in any way of Benjamin's disability or that it's a skeleton in the Amick family closet. It just doesn't come up that much, and I don't want to confuse Andrew's young brain or for him to misunderstand our intention. I certainly don't want for him to think there is something wrong or defective with his brother.
But when Thomas starts to understand me when Benjamin still can't...
When Thomas can go up and down the stairs quickly and Benjamin still can't...
When Thomas can sing and talk and share toys and Benjamin still can't...
Well, it just makes my heart ache just a little. And I feel torn. I know I don't have to choose between my sons. I know I will and already do love each of them fully and just as they are. But it's still a worry of mine.
Matthew is on the other side of the coin. He worries that in an attempt to not make Benjamin look delayed (to others, to us, to Andrew, and also I suppose to Benjamin himself), that it might be our tendency to not encourage Thomas as much as we normally would. That he will tend to fall by the wayside. That by praising Thomas' accomplishments, that Benjamin's lack of accomplishments will be emphasized.
Either way, or neither way, I know it is all in God's hands. That each of our precious boys was given to us for a reason, and we will always strive to do what is best for each of them.
Life is just a bit more complicated now. Sometimes I just long for the normalcy I was expecting. Even though I know that not only was my life meant to be this way, but that even if I had all "normal" children, I'd still have struggles and fears.
I just think life is hard and complex sometimes.
But I do truly appreciate all the love and support I receive from all my friends and family. It means the world to me. :)