Growing Pains

 

Maya and me had some tough arguments today. They weren’t pretty–at all–and her Dad had to mediate between us by comforting Maya and interpreting my intentions. Maya is getting big which requires continuous adjustments to how we approach  supporting her physically throughout the day. I always try and give her as many opportunities to move and practice developing new skills (this is very important to her), but today what my heart wanted was not what my body wanted. Maya tuned into my frustration as I struggled to support her body and manage my own. My back just plain hurt and it wasn’t her fault, but I sure made it sound like it was. It was not one of my more stellar parenting moments, but it was a very human moment.

Maya cried and I was pretty upset with myself. She shouted at me, “How am I supposed to keep track of what movements hurt your back?!!” Well, she isn’t and I let her know that. I blamed her when I knew she was doing her best. She went on to cry about her body and feeling stuck in her wheelchair (which is part of why I push myself physically to give her many chances to use her body in different ways). It was very hard to remain present with her in that moment because it was painful for me to witness her pain and  know that I caused some of it by being so hard on her.

Then tonight something similar happened. I was frustrated trying to facilitate movements that are more difficult for Maya but that I think she may be able to attain with some practice. In the long run it would end one of the last transitions we have that require that we lift her. She tuned into my frustration despite my attempt to disguise it better. She became irate and I backed away and gave her space. Her dad again stepped in to try and explain my intentions. As I got her into bed I told her I was sorry and that I didn’t mean to upset her. She asked me to stay with her for a few minutes and then she said,

“As it turns out Mom I wasn’t upset with you. I was frustrated with my body and I got out of control and I am sorry.”

I told her I understood and that I was amazed she was able to process all of those feelings and ideas so quickly and honestly. When I was 10 years old I certainly wouldn’t have been so honest about my behavior and I do not know that I could have come to such a mature perspective on my own.

Ultimately, we decided on a new house rule that early morning and before bed are not good times for me (or anyone else) to have Maya practice movements that are harder for her. I think that sounds like a good plan. I know we will likely be making many more adjustments both physically and emotionally as Maya gets older. In some cases we will be forced to replace hope with acceptance as we face our limitations both Maya’s and our own. Hopefully, I will be able to negotiate these moments with a little more grace than I did today.

 

3 replies
  1. charlene
    charlene says:

    I can relate.
    I come home from working a full day as I am not fortunate enough to stay home.
    I then have to cook a meal do homework with Kellens brother and then Kellen needs to spend time in his walker
    This is a really difficult time for us both as he is tired too from a long day of activities but I find myself forcing it due to me being so limited
    Its hard but as you say, we are human

  2. Donna Giles
    Donna Giles says:

    This post touched me deeply–as usual, I learned something from what you wrote. Maya is amazingly mature, emotionally, to be able to express so well her insights about her own behavior and reactions. She certainly has good role models in both you and your husband. We all, no matter our abilities, face limitations at some point in our lives. Here’s hoping that I can have the grace that you and Maya have shown to each other. Continued good wishes and much love to you all.

  3. Anita
    Anita says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I have the same frustrations with lifting when I hurt. After working all day, and trying to catch up on home stuff I find I too am trying to do so much at her most tired times of the day. I have suffered with disc problems since high school and the regular lifting and helping of my daughter (3 1/2) can be personally frustrating. This story helps remind us that we are human and not perfect. Thank you

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