Friday, March 24, 2006

Fun at the Park

I decided to take Tess and Owen to the park yesterday; but didn't plan on the emotional toll it took on me. I had Tess in the baby Bjorn and Owen in the stroller, since we walked there from our soon to be new house. When we got there, I felt so out of place, and instantly thought of what a mistake I had made. See, Erik usually takes Owen to the park and they come back laughing and Erik tells me what a good time they had and all these kids Owen played with. Well, my husband is 6 ft, 7 inches, so of course he can lift Owen up to the highest monkey bars, and then he does the same for other kids, and they all end up having a good time. Here I am, with a baby papoosed to me, and Owen looking so longingly at the kids at the top of the big slide. He stood to the side and watched as they slid down, and he clapped for them. Then, when he wanted to climb up from the bottom (because that's all he could do), they kept telling him to get out of the way, because they wanted to slow down. It's as if everyone was in fast motion, and Owen was in slow motion. I wanted him to be able to climb up as fast as they did, like monkees, and slide down, or run through the sand to the swings. But instead, he sat down, and watched them through his little glasses, sifting sand through his hands. I wanted to cry.

So I took him over to the baby slide, where I could help him up to the top and then hold his hand while he slid down. He was fine with that, but again, every time some kid came back around they were too impatient to wait for him, so I had to take him off and let them go. I saw one mother looking at me like, "well, aren't you going to get your kid out of the way?" even though she clearly saw that he was a little slower than the other kids. It pissed me off. I felt like I was caught in some weird music box that was playing some off-key music that hurt my ears. Even when one mother I knew came over and said hello, I couldn't really carry on a conversation. I was sweating, and felt like I just had to get out of there.

And Owen didn't even protest when I said we had to go! He didn't fight like other kids, he didn't dig his heels in, or scamper away to another set of monkey bars. No, he went willingly with me, and it made me hate myself. All the way home, I just wanted to cry, but I didn't. Why do I want Owen to be more than he is? Why do I feel like I am lacking in some way because my child can't do what other kids do? And why do I care? Why do I want him to be just like any other child, because he is so special the way he is? Why can't I just accept him? I think it's because I can't really accept myself. I've always been such a perfectionist, and it's hard to see him okay with being just the way he is.

So today I took Tess for cranial sacral therapy, and Jennifer, the therapist, and I talked about what happened at the park. She asked me why I still couldn't accept the diagnosis that Owen has, and furthermore, why I was so fixated on it. She told me that the Maori people (see previous entries about Maori healers that I went to), believe that those who have a child with Down Syndrome are blessed. They are chosen. I thought about that all the way home from the session with her. If I lived in New Zealand with the Maoris, I would feel proud of myself and my child, proud of being chosen. Here, in America, I feel shamed, as if I did something wrong by having my child with a disability. Is that so bizarre? Perhaps I am just thinking the wrong way. Maybe I should begin thinking the way the Maoris do, and feel special, chosen. Maybe I should block out all the negative thinking that is so American (if you can't have perfect children, then why have them at all? After all, there are tests you can take to tell you if you child is imperfect, before they are even born.)

It's been a long couple of days and I'm tired. I hope that I can learn to redirect my thoughts to that I can erase some of this negativity, especially before my children catch wind of it.


Blogger RNP said...

Hello mommy, you just had a baby, things are going to be a bit more stressful when you are out and about with a little one strapped to your front.

Maybe next time you can find a quieter park, some little ones are just not too caring when it comes to the hustle and bustle of the park. They are only concerned with their own fun.

There is nothing I dislike more than a park overloaded with children-it tends to be a good mix for a bad situation no matter what.

I am sure that Owen was just as happy to be there with mom as he would be with dad, and I am sure your next experience will be better.

I have written a bit of a post about your experience today, we have all had these feelings, this too shall pass.

10:48 AM  

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