My mommy guilt has taken a vacation lately. It could be because I haven't had many "bad" days recently, so I haven't had many opportunities to feel the guilt creep up on me and nestle into my chest as I lay on the couch. Or maybe I've just matured a bit. Ha! My bet is on the first one! I recall a few years ago, a helpful reader sending a very special comment my way that was so uplifting in regards to raising a child while dealing with an auto immune disease. I still remember it and without the haze of mommy guilt hanging over me I can now see the wisdom of it. Anyway, on to my list...
1. She's more independent. L doesn't expect me to help with everything and actually gets upset when I help sometimes, especially on my "bad Sjogren's days". She wants to be super helpful by doing for me rather than the reverse (and yes, that can be equally frustrating for me at times).
2. A wealth of empathy. Don't get me wrong she's not always super empathetic, she is eight after all! But I'd like to think that she's more empathetic than a lot of eight year olds can be. L can put herself in someone elses shoes, imagine, what they might be going through, and then tries to help a person feel better about what they are going through.
3. She's gotten a first hand view of how families still live "normal lives" with chronic illness or disabilities. So L doesn't just assume that because she sees someone in a wheelchair that they might live any differently then anyone else. I like that!
4. Creativity. Sometimes life just can't be lived in a way everyone else thinks is "normal". Even if it is a "normal" way to live for someone with chronic illness. To get to the new "normal" people, and often families as a whole, need to become creative in their approach to find ways to do every day things. Creativity plays a super big part in this. "Creative living" might be a good term for it, especially when I am in couch mama mode.
5. An ability to adapt fairly easily. I'm not saying this is completely true in every circumstance, however, I think that proves to be the case more often than not. L has learned how to roll with most circumstances and we try to make the best case out of it.
6. My daughter has become more nurturing. Not because I have made her take care of me, but because she feels happy taking care of others in all difference situations.
7. Intuitive. This often runs hand in hand with the empathy. L is able to pick up on things that many children would not pay attention to or overlook. She has a way of going really still, observing things, and then acting or reacting to what she sees needs done.
My daughter wants me to, unofficially, add a number eight. Which would be, "I get to eat snacks and dinner in the living room when Mommy isn't feeling good."