My daughter with special needs is my oldest child, so I have no real means of comparison as a mother. She is my first. Her first smile, her first word, and her first steps were all my firsts as a mother. I know that all of these milestones were met significantly later than what is considered typical, but that is the “typical” that I know. Sure, I see other children in day-to-day interactions, but it is not the same as watching a child grow and develop under your care.
This year my sweet girl has started kindergarten. I often question how she is fitting in. I understand and am very aware that she has delays in many areas, but do the other kids notice? Does my child stick out in a crowd or does she blend in with the others? How far off from the norm is she? These are the questions that I need help with and rely on her teachers and others to answer for me.
At times, this can all become overwhelming and difficult. Not knowing what the future holds for my daughter can be scary. Will she catch up to her peers? Will she find her own social group? Will she feel different or left out? I sometimes think about what it would be like if she were typically developing. Would things be easier and less stressful for all of us? Probably. But you know what? I would not change a thing. Really.
So, yes, things like the birthday Facebook post that I read today do remind me that I don’t know “typical” when it comes to watching my daughter grow. However, it also reminds me that I am glad I don’t. If she were “typical” she wouldn’t be the wonderful little person that she is, and I am thankful everyday that this is our normal.