But it's easy to do.
It's so easy to get caught up in Aiden's world of appointments, research, and telling his story. Everyone asks about Aiden ... "Guess what Aiden did today!" ... explaining the equipment on his ears ... the questions and stares when we're out ... the questions from family, friends, and complete strangers ...
... when I take a step back and look into our world, my older kids often hear ALL ABOUT AIDEN.
Then things happen. Grades have slipped, behaviors have run wild, Kailyn continues struggling in math but has now added reading comprehension to the list (it shocks me though that they expect a second grader to multiply and divide - you gotta be kidding me) and I'm flooded with a downpour of mommy guilt.
In my make-believe world, Ryan would be responsible for his learning. He'd do his homework without us constantly checking in. He'd clean his room and pick up his wet towels and dirty underwear. Puberty would be easy and he wouldn't argue about every.little.thing. He'd go above and beyond showing how bright he truly is, without us constantly pushing him to do it.
In my make-believe world, Kailyn wouldn't struggle in school. She'd be able to hold her attention much longer, and maybe, just maybe, things would just click for her. We wouldn't battle everyday after school to get homework done. She'd always feel included and know she's just as loved as her brothers; she wouldn't get so down on herself. She'd always be the charismatic, charming, lovable, entertainer that she truly is.
In my make-believe world, Aiden wouldn't have so many appointments RIGHT in the middle of the day that disrupt so many other things. I wouldn't have to talk to him ALL day, narrating every thing we do to the point I have little patience for talking, much less arguing with his siblings by the end of the day.
But this make-believe world would be boring (easier, but boring). Perfect is boring.
We do our best as parents to balance our life between each of our kids and ourselves. This is not easy when one child takes up such a big percentage of the time. We're very open in discussing our feelings and obstacles faced. Are we doing enough though? Am I giving enough? Are my kids reaching out? What I do know, is that my older kids need their mommy just as much as their little brother.
I've come to realize that it's so important to find that balance between full time language therapist and mommy to three kids.
I've come to realize I expect so much more from my 12 year old son, yet he still needs lots of guidance and LOTS of mom hugs. He's my first born. That always holds a special place.
I've come to realize that by just having mom/daughter time each night, whether playing teacher or nail salon, when all I want to do is crawl in bed, makes her feel just that much better. She's my only daughter, another, totally different special place.
I've come to realize that my babies have had such an 'effin rough year plus some. Their grandpa, whom they absolutely adored, became someone they didn't know, then passed away; three months later their baby brother was born deaf ... "Deaf? You mean he can't hear us talk to him?" they'd ask; seven months later they were uprooted after living in one place their whole life to new schools and all new friends; and to top it all off their mom has been consumed with trying to understand how to raise a deaf child in our family's hearing world.
They should be the ones screaming "I can't take anymore!"
But they don't. They're such damn good troopers. They don't complain. They just go with it. And they are always so happy to see Aiden, ask how his day was. They love on him all the time; with no regrets shown.
So Ryan, my straight A student, brought home a D and two Cs a report card ago. Who cares. It's seventh grade.
So Kailyn, my "loves herself more than anything" entertainer, is struggling keeping her attention in school and therefore with her own insecurities. We're testing her for ADD, will deal with the results, sign her up for karate (which she wants to take), and keep reminding her of what a wonderful, smart girl she is, all around.
And Aiden ... we'll just keep trucking along with what we do ... teaching him to listen and speak. All in the mist of raising his siblings, who by the way, are excellent language opportunities for him!
This whole "balancing" act isn't easy. We'll get there though, like my dad used to say, come hell or high water.