Do you ever wish your child’s disability to go away? No matter how much you ‘understand’ and ‘know’ about the reality of your child’s disability and her limitations, I am sure there are days when you genuinely want these undesired challenges to leave you and your child for a few moments? I do.
Over the course of time, we as parents learn to accept and make peace with the fact that there are certain areas where the child may not do as well as others. Circumspectly, we all learn to take things in our stride and get happy at all their achievements, big or small. Not only this, we also learn to not get affected by that ‘compare’ trait which comes naturally to most parents and we work extra hard to keep it at bay.
In spite of all that, why do I sometime feel that little twinge in my heart when my daughter is standing in that race with others? Why does a tiny part of me want her to ‘come close to winning’ and not just participate? I understand how ‘winning’ is over rated and is mostly a ‘devious conditioning of the system’ and how such thoughts can take one on a downward spiral and damage ‘years’ of efforts at acceptance, yet many times I can’t stop myself from imagining and even praying for that stupid ‘gene’ to shut up and let my daughter be.
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When I see her playing with her friends trying so hard to cycle at their pace, run with all her might to touch that finish wall and still not able to make it or gasping to catch others in a game of tag, I feel a bout of hurt. Not every time but a lot of times. I feel blessed that she has ‘typical’ friends but a lot of times, I also feel this throbbing pain that engulfs me completely.
There is this little girl in our neighbourhood who was born in the same month as Aarshia. Her mom and I were pregnant at the same time, waiting for our little sunshines to come home. It’s been 10 long years and I have seen both these girls grow every day. That girl too is a part of Aarshia’s gang and I love her. She is kind and extremely talkative. While playing, she often comes to me, and talks about random things in her school, her new dress, her favourite actor, what she wants to be when she grows up etc. She has also asked a few times why Aarshia can’t run as fast as others, and I’ve answered with facts. She doesn’t register much of it and generally runs while I am still explaining the ‘sometimes some of us are different’ theory. Often times when I see her from a distance, I feel something piercing my heart. I feel vulnerable in her presence, like my emotions will get the best of me.
Every time Aarshia is in the skating rink I feel proud. When she gets ready for a race, I ‘understand’ and ‘know’ she wouldn’t come first or second in her age group because it’s kind of difficult with her muscle tone and with all other kiddos who are so swift and super fast. Those who can make your heart beat faster with their long strides and dancer like movements. I know, it’s stupid to expect from my only ‘special’ girl in the rink to win amongst those or even come close to the few best ones. But still deep inside, in the tiny dark corners of my heart, I wish her to!
Every time that race starts, I see, how each mother stops talking, their eyes peeled on that rink. How when the whistle blows they take positions in directing/motivating/pushing their children to go faster than whoever is ahead of them. None of this matters to me because I know that even if Aarshia is doing amazingly well, she can’t keep up with many, and that usually doesn’t bother me. Yet there are days when it does.
Sometimes, a tiny part of me wants her to fly on those skates and leave everyone behind, so I don’t have to give that ‘it’s alright sweetheart’ smile after every race. Such days are few and far in between and I try very hard to not get swallowed by these emotions but I also try to let them pass through me, acknowledging them, without avoiding or struggling with them.
I do ‘understand’ and ‘know’ that it isn’t right to let these thoughts grow on you, yet it is equally important to vent those feelings out so one can come back to their ‘original’ self. One who we’ve trained to not get perturbed by such trivial things.
Aarshia is my pride, my heart, my soul and my life. But I can’t say that I wouldn’t change a thing about her!
Fellow parents, does it happen to you too?