My little warrior turned three today. The house has been decorated, presents laid out on the table, and my heart is heavy. I struggle with Matthews birthdays. I see the milestones that have passed us by and I wonder where we will be in another 12 months. I know he has come so far, further than many believed he would, but he has so much further to go.
The last 12 months have been life altering for all of us. We have all had to change our paths to focus on getting Matthew to achieve his very best. I have taken a break from work for a while and become a stay at home mom. We have all had to adjust to bringing sign language into the house, having a closed door policy and above all that life is busy. When I started my career the idea of being a stay at home Mom horrified me. We welcomed our first son Adrian into the world eight years ago and as much as it pained me to leave him we were able to juggle things. Then came Dylan who refused to take a bottle or sleep and although it pained me , I did eventually go back to work. Life became a little bit harder but we were still able to keep juggling. Then Matthew arrived and with endless appointments and the two boys in school juggling became impossible.
Being a stay at home Mom is a role that I never thought I would take, but one that I have enjoyed evolving into. I won’t lie, it has been a challenge, but one with countless rewards. (Just this week Matthew started saying little sentences and there is such excitement in the house! )
What I have struggled with the most is that I have become, in so many circumstances, ‘Matthews Mom’ and I have wrestled with that identity. I don’t know when it happened, that moment, that moment when I stopped becoming a wife, a daughter, a friend and all I became was ‘Matthews Mom’.
I am like every parent, I spend every day trying my best for my children and every moment wondering is it enough. No more so than when you have a child that requires you to work extra hard. It consumes your every moment and it doesn’t really allow for anything else. I have to try so hard to make sure that all my boys get enough from me so that they never for a moment think that I am just ‘Matthews Mom’. Finding that balance is so hard. I am trying not to use Matthews appointments as the reason why we don’t do some things,while still pretending to be Batgirl, when I am really trying to make sure that Matthew doesn’t make a run for it outside! But sometimes it’s not enough, last week Adrian told me that he thinks I love Matthew more than him. I said of course not I love all my boys just the same – and then he said he thought our baby was broken, and my heart broke into a million pieces. I tried to explain that Matthew is just taking his time learning how to run and talk and that he was so lucky to have such a great big brother. I couldn’t sleep that night – I thought I had been doing a good job keeping things all together? How do people balance it all ?
Matthews name means ‘a gift from God’ and there is not one day that I don’t believe it. He may have thrown our lives upside down and turned our plans around, but he is one of our biggest blessings. I have grown a love and determination that I never knew I was capable of. A family love that is limitless, that is based on protection, giggles and unlimited faith. Faith that our road is not going to suddenly stop. That despite the hills and mountains put in our way, there has to be a good end to this story, a peace and a moment of attainment.