I mean, the biggest reason my kids didn't go to preschool was that it would add in another schedule we had to keep. I did worry a little about that, especially since writing their own names was about what they could do when they started kindergarten, as opposed to the kids who were reading already. But you know what? I think they've done okay anyway.
I stumbled into the soccer mom thing, totally by accident. And that ruled my life long before I realized that it did. I mean, in the beginning, it was a cute activity for the girls, about their only one outside of school. It was a 45 minute practice once a week for a few weeks and then a 50 minute game once a week. Easy peasy. I didn't look far enough into the future to see the three two-hour practices plus two games a week scene, multiplied by multiple kids.
And then this last fall, I had another "ah-hah" moment. Someone asked if I was a "heart mom." Nope, I'm a Trisomy mom, trach mom, vent mom, . . . um, because of his heart. Uh, yeah, actually, I guess I am. 'Cause while trisomy can (and does!) cause a host of challenges, Aaron's heart is actually probably his biggest single challenge. So yep, I'm a heart mom. And knowing some of these other ladies, I can say I'm grateful to be part of them. They're a pretty incredible bunch.
But those labels, what do they really mean? Soccer mom, dance mom, baseball mom. Trisomy mom, heart mom, vent mom, special needs mom. I think the most important word in there is the one they all have in common: MOM. Yeah, those three little letters, M-O-M.
Those letters say so much. They say, "I'll love you forever." "You are my reason for living." "I'll always try to do the very best for you, even if, sometimes especially if, you don't like it." And I think that is what a mom is.
It's staying up Waaaaaaaaay later than you really wanted to helping with a homework project. It's getting up and driving to school much earlier than you'd like, in the freezing cold, because they want to take a zero period class. It's trips to the ER with a broken arm or a towel held on a bloody forehead when you'd rather be making dinner. It's listening to the frustrations or the excitement of what happened at school. It's laughing with them and crying with them, and sometimes even yelling, too.
It's learning a new language, holding your baby while they try again and again to get IV access into tiny veins that don't want to cooperate. It's pushing your fear aside and learning how to keep them breathing, learning what you can handle and when you need back-up, and waiting to fall apart until after the crisis has passed. It's comforting and reassuring your other kids and family members that, even though this is hard, you know them, and they can do hard things. Letting them know that it hurts, and it's okay that it hurts, and it's okay that they hurt, but together, you'll get through it all, somehow.
See, I often have moms say to me, "oh, you're so amazing, I could never do what you do." But they could, and they would, if they had to. 'Cause that's what a mom does. That's who she is. She's a Mom.
Aaron update: He's improving, just very, very slowly. Yesterday we took his PEEP from 13 to 12, and today we're trying 12 to 11. He needs to get to 10 on the hospital vent and be stable there in order to try to get back to his home vent. But so far, it seems to be fairly steady progress. He's been asleep all morning, so we'll see how he does when he wakes up. If he wakes up and does well for a few hours, then we'll drop again. But as always, it's all in his court.