Today is Mothers Day and it has been very good so far. My husband and daughter each gave me a lovely card and we went to my favorite coffee shop for a relaxing breakfast. I got my Mothers Day gift a couple weeks ago - a book called "You Can Do It!" It tells you, step by step, how to accomplish different goals you have in your life. In fact it is thanks to that book that I have this blog today! I simply read the suggestion of "setting up your own website" on the back cover and I instantly got excited to see that goal through. The book has sticker "badges" on its back pages (similar to Girl Scout badges) to represent the completion of each goal. Today we stopped at the store where I got a beautifully colored poster board - someplace where I can put my badges. Always the Girl Scout, I am excited to see how many I can complete.
My first Mothers Day gift was a new dishwasher. Not very exciting, you're probably thinking, but it was great to me. It allows me to quickly take care of the dishes every evening as opposed to spending long periods of time on my feet cleaning up after dinner. With my back pain increasing so much after having a baby, it is a dream come true to take care of clean up so quickly! Having a dishwasher also allows me to spend more time with my husband and daughter - something I truly cherish, as our commute to and from work is so long. The small amount of time I have after work and before my daugher's bedtime can now be spent with her and not in the kitchen cleaning up. Awesome!
Last Summer I even started having my daughter help me with the dishes. She knows where the plastic containers go and she hands me the silverware for me to put in its place.
I have been talking to my daughter about being helpful to me probably since before she was one year old. For example, I have been able to go on short driving trips with her ever since she could walk - I just need her to wear what we call her "walkies" (a toddler safety tether). She knows now that if she and I ever go somewhere on our own that she needs to wear her walkies. Sometimes she is fitfull when I need to get her in the car and buckle her in the carseat. I remind her that she needs to be helpful to mommy and let me put her in the car. I understand, of course, that she is only two, but I feel that if I keep talking to her about helping mommy that soon it will just become a part of her daily activity. I know that she realizes, even now, that I cannot pick her up and carry her. She knows to go to daddy or another family member who happens to be around if she wants up. Occassionally she will come to me and say "Mommy, up", but I just say to her "Mommy can't do up, you know that" and she quickly and calmly goes to find daddy.
(I thought that I would feel sad about not being able to pick her up and carry her around. But that hasn't been the case at all. If she ever needs comforting or cuddling, I simply kneel down to her level and hold her in my arms for as long as she needs.)
I feel that my daughter will grow into a very tolerant, helpful and loving person, in part because of having a disabled mother. She's learning to be helpful to me and also to know what I can and cannot do. If I trip or fall down she is always right there telling me to "Be careful, Mommy." And my husband and I already notice that she has never questioned the braces I wear on my legs. We've asked her once what she thought my braces were and she answered, quickly and in the middle of her playing - as if she couldn't be bothered with such silly questions - "Mommy's shoes." All my life little children have stared at me when I'm shopping or whatever and I hear them asking their mommys "what's wrong with her?", "what does she have on her legs?", "why does she walk like that?". But my daughter has never asked anything of the sort or given me any funny looks. Of course, she sees me every single day and, to her, I'm just Mommy. So it shouldn't be that strange to me. But still, I am impressed with her reaction - or, rather, non-reaction - to my disabilty.
On the other hand, I know that other kids will be a huge influence on her. She doesn't go to a daycare yet, but when she does and the other kids around her see me, she will start to hear their comments and questions. I wonder what will happen to her attitude and views then. Will she be defensive? Will she start questioning me? Will she be sad or angry? I guess that's just another stage in her life that we will have to start preparing her, and ourselves, for.