Soleil, my firstborn...the one that changed my world forever by making me a mom. She turned our lives upside down even before she arrived. And once she was born, she began writing a whole new manual on this parenting thing.
She has never followed the charts, timetables, or plans. And after eight years, I'm still trying to figure out how to be the momma that she needs.
Soleil has always needed more. More affection, more energy, more patience, more understanding...more of everything.
There are many, many things about parenting a child with extra needs that is unfair. It's unfair to her, to me, to our family...it adds so much stress and constant worrying. It makes me mad and very, very sad.
Last night as I walked our dog Toni I thought about Soleil and how easy it is for me to think of things that are hard or challenging about being her mom. The list of things that I'd love to change about her and our family's situation is a mile long.
In the thick of the day-to-day it's easy to get lost and forget the larger, complete picture. The whole child. The sum of all her parts...good, bad, and ugly. I need to remind myself more often of all that I love about my daughter, all that she's taught me, and all of the beauty and happiness that she has brought to our family. Because there is lots of that, too.
So I decided that Thursdays are going to be my day to reflect on and be thankful for Soleil. I'm going to push myself to list one thing every week that is positive. My hope is that by articulating the good, I'll have more strength to handle the not so good...and I'll be able to remain in that "remember the larger picture" state of mind a little longer.
So today I am thankful for Soleil's infectious, glorious laugh. And the twinkle in her eyes that comes with it.