Welcome to Just Juniors

In September of 2008, my 7th daughter Samara was born 9 weeks early. 4 weeks later, she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. My self-therapy in learning to fully embrace her diagnosis involved designing t-shirts that portrayed Down Syndrome in a positive light. It is from this that my business, designing disability awareness products, has grown.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Confessions of an imperfect mother

- [ ] Confessions of an imperfect mother

28 years into my parenting journey, I have finally realised something. I am not a failure as a mum.
My children are not who I projected they would be. They are not living the life I had mapped out for them. They do not follow my faith. They disagree with me on so many things.
Maybe this is a lesson I am being taught by my youngest daughter. You see, 8 years ago, our little world was rocked by the arrival of a little girl who, at 4 weeks of age, we learned was not going to fit into any preconceived notions I had for her future.
Like most parents of special needs kids, I went through the grief that comes with the loss of the dreams we had for our kids. That realisation that she isn't going to win a Nobel Prize. She won't find a cure for cancer. Heck, she may not even live in her own home, or read a book, or even be fully toilet trained. We just don't know. There are many what ifs still ahead on her journey. And, I still grieve for the things she can't do, and the opportunities she may miss. But, what if, maybe, just maybe, she is exactly who she is meant to be? What if this life is the perfect life for her? What if, on the balance of ups and downs (no pun intended), this is exactly who she is supposed to be, where she is supposed to be, and how she is supposed to be?
And if that is all true for her, is it not true also of my other children?
My completely unfounded dreams for her future were my dreams. Not hers. And when she was 4 weeks old, we were very quickly thrown into a world where those dreams were going to have to be broken and rebuilt. Not into lesser dreams. But into dreams that were in line with her life, and her purpose.
Could it be that this is a lesson I needed in order to parent ALL of my children? Did I miss the point completely in my parenting journey? Were my dreams for my children based on people who never existed?
And how could I have gotten it so wrong, and still come here and claim I am not a failure?
Well, my reasoning may be faulty, and a way of making excuses for my own shortcomings. I don't know. But what I do know, is every decision I made for my children, I made from a place of love. And because of that, I think they are who they are supposed to be. Not little images of me and my dreams. But beautiful, loving, caring, upright citizens, who I am proud to call my daughters.
I didn't imagine having a child who would get pregnant at 15. Yet I could not be more proud of my now 20 year old who is an amazing mum to my 4 year old grandson. She has overcome so much to be where she is today. She works full time, and has even started her own business. She doesn't make excuses, or ask for handouts. She just gets on with the day to day task of raising a beautiful child.
I didn't imagine my girls abandoning their faith. But they haven't abandoned the ideals of that faith. They are all amazingly loving giving young women. The oldest has dedicated her life to feeding children healthy lunches in school. What's not to be proud of about that?
They all have that loving caring nature. They show it in different ways, but they all have the most beautiful hearts. One daughter would lend money to employees at her workplace when the boss failed to make their payments on time. Not to mention all the u paid hours she put in to make things better for her workmates.
They are all adaptable to their situations. Finding ways to make life work, even when things go wrong. They are capable of thinking outside the box and problem solving. They think they learned nothing in their homeschool environment. But I don't think they realise just how much they are capable of doing because they learned how to learn, not just what to learn. And even though they don't see it, I am proud of them for it.
As I lay here contemplating the last 28 years of my life, I realise I may have failed in more ways than I ever could have imagined, but I have succeeded in more ways than I ever imagined too. I failed to make them into little moulds of who I wanted them to be. But I was successful in raising 6 young adults who I am immensely proud of. 6 beautiful young women who are just who they were created to be.