all ten fingers and all ten toes

I’m going to tell you a few (wholly scandalous) secrets.

I never wanted to have neurodivergent kids. In fact, the idea that it was even a possibility never crossed my mind. Was I even aware that such a thing existed? Probably not. I’m not even kidding. Thank you Fundamental Christianity.

I was having babies in a time when if you were asked if you were hoping for a boy or girl, the go to answer was “I just want a healthy baby with all ten fingers and all ten toes.” Do you remember this? Just me? The day my kids were born someone counted their fingers and toes and declared they were healthy. End of discussion. All was well.

Imagine my surprise when not one but both of my kids turned out to be other than perfectly healthy despite all of their phalanges. What sort of fuckery was this?! “Disabilities” that didn’t show on an anatomy scan? “Imperfections” that weren’t visible to the naked eye. Needs that were somehow “special?!” Well what the fuck did I do to deserve this? And where was the “what to expect when your perfect babies aren’t” book? Is there a chapter on “what did I do wrong?” or how about “is this my fault or their dad’s?” Most importantly, where are the experts on “how to find resources to deal with something you didn’t know existed?” because my knowledge to this point was spare the rod and spoil the child, and if they’re still not perfect then you must just be sparing the rod and need to take it up a notch. Fundamental Christianity for the win…again.

Can we acknowledge how absolutely harmful this is on everyone?! My kids have trauma because of it, I have trauma as a result, and it helped zero percent for far longer than I’d like to admit. Turns out, burying your head in the sand or shutting completely down is not a workable solution. (I’m sure I’m being hyperbolic and overly critical of myself – I know I am- but sometimes this is just how it FEELS here in my feelings.)

Sixteen and nineteen years later, and I’m still just trying to figure it the fuck out. Every new stage of life is met with their uncertainty and mine, their trauma and mine, and a whole lot of self doubt and exhaustion. Thank the divine spirit within me and kids who never gave up on me, somehow we are making it through and learning better ways. But whew! Some days it does catch up with a girl.

I wouldn’t trade my perfectly imperfect babies for anything in this world, but I sure as shit would take a little more support and whole lot more knowledge along the way. They deserve more and I also deserved more!

Here’s to hoping some day it gets a wee bit easier. Here’s to knowing that I’m doing everything in my power to make it so, for us and for all those that ask my advice on how to navigate this world.

Love, acceptance, celebration and gratitude to all of us on this path.

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