Maybe the one line that would have stopped me from having more children…heck, maybe from having children altogether, I never heard.
“They are expensive.” “It gets harder as they get older.” “Just remember that every baby will turn into a teenager.” “Think about the cost of college.”
Just some of the phrases I heard from alarmed family, friends, & total strangers as our family continued to grow. I did my best to accept their concern gracefully & smile, but I loved my family. Every little ounce of it. It was chaotic and challenging, but I honest to goodness loved my life with all the littles!
If someone would have sat me down and said, “You will have to be an advocate for your children. Some won’t need your advocacy but from time-to-time, others will require profound advocating. You know how you feel about defending yourself, fighting for yourself…advocating for your kids will not feel like standing in the gap on behalf of someone else. It will feel like defending yourself. You suck at that. You may want to reconsider children.” I am pretty sure I would have.
I hate conflict. When it comes to defending myself, most of the time I just back away and hope in time who I am, my actions, the whole picture unfolding will change their minds or hearts toward me. I prefer to not fight for myself. Now, if you need a fighter, I’ve got you covered and I’m usually pretty good 😁
I try to find mommas that encourage me in life, in book, on TV. Anything to be like, “if they can do that, surely I can do this.” There is such a woman that blogs. Her journey and advocacy requirements are immense. Her son taught himself to read at 2, fell in love with the periodic table at 3, tested as profoundly gifted, and schools said there was nothing they can do for him.
Here is an excerpt from her blog:
The fear of failure.
“Profoundly gifted children are the most at risk for dropping out of school. I don’t have a link for that because it has been drilled into my brain from every article I’ve ever read about them. Why on earth would they drop out when it comes so easily for them? Because it comes so easily for them! People thrive on an appropriate amount of challenge. Children are programmed for learning. There’s a misconception that if you leave these kids alone they’ll be just fine. Best case scenario: they do okay but never reach their own potential and struggle with that knowledge when they’re older, and the world misses out on whatever greatness they could have offered us and themselves. I don’t want that for my son. I want him to work hard for what he has, learn from his mistakes, and use what he’s been given to its greatest potential. How he uses his gifts is up to him. But I don’t want them stolen from him before he’s able to make a decision on how he wants to use them.”
She shares her own advocacy journey, the toll, and the imperative importance of it. My journey is much different. Neither as profound or as interesting, and yet I feel the same things: I am embarrassed by my delicacy.
Advocating saps my energy. It makes me question everything about my thought processes & think maybe I didn’t understand the experts right. There are the experts & friends & family, & they often contradict…maybe I just made this up…maybe I didn’t understand. It makes me feel crazy.
So to those of you that have found yourself wearing the advocate hat (we wear so many as parents), I want to encourage you as Life at Tiffany’s Blog has encouraged me.
Don’t give up! Every day I consider quitting and just letting the pieces fall where they may. Every. Day. So I get that. But Don’t!!
Find people that understand your journey & encourage you! I long for these areas of my life to just be normal. I hate the panic I feel inside when questions that will reveal the different in my journey are asked. It literally takes my breath debating (every time) the best answer to give that isn’t a lie but doesn’t spotlight the “weird” in our life. A support group is paramount! A group that can laugh at the absurdity of your situation with you, that can reassure you when the status quo leaves you doubting yourself, a place to collapse & be recharged when the exhaustion is too much. It’s SO important.
Advocate the heck out of your situation! Study, research, talk to specialists. It is a constant learning journey. And when you want to give up, or if you get uncomfortable advocating for your child, then think of those that will follow you. There those that come behind us that will not have advocates. Those whose advocate will wear out and not be able to continue…fight for them. No matter how rare your situation, you aren’t the only one.
If you are advocating for a child with special needs, a misunderstood child, a child battelingillness, a child in poverty, or, like Tiffany, a gifted child; I commend you for the efforts you’ve made so far & implore you to not give up the good fight, even when you loose a battle. There is too much goodness at stake!
I’ll leave you with the words from Tiffany that encouraged me today:
So whatever your battle is fight it. Because if you don’t fight it, no one else will.
And since everyone of these precious beings got here before I had any idea of how unfit I would be as their advocate, I’ll fight.
Be sure to check out Tiffany’s amazing blog and incredibly interesting life here!