In the middle of the busiest park in the city, in a world that was moving with childhood goodness- sticky sand, smelly bark, ridiculously large slides and a lions mouth that was a water fountain (oh the wonder!!!)
I saw her right in front of me.
In an instant, I felt regret.
I knew I should have kept her away from this park.
With all that I know, everything in me, I saw it colliding in that particular moment. She was extremely uncomfortable in this environment made for her. This was not the first time I have witnessed this incident occur but it certainly felt like the worst incident thus far.
I knew I needed to make one of the toughest calls of my life- I had to tell her dad. I had to tell her pediatrician.
Soon after the call assessments were made:
There was never a “diagnosis” (and I don’t think there ever will be, to be honest) but there was an evident need for this type of intervention. To my surprise, many people, all strangers, were loving and caring, optimistic and helpful throughout this journey after “the call.”
When we first found out I was pregnant with her, we formed a “village” quickly.
Church, family, friends, acquaintances, “mom” groups, city events… anything we could get our hands on and show up to, we did. We wanted that village for our child.
When she was born everything changed:
First in pregnancy- high risk. Then in delivery- C-Section and NICU stay. Then in her first month of life- false positive for a rare genetic disorder. Then newborn stages- the colic at 5pm everyday was killer and lasted far longer than the newborn stage lasted. Our marriage- we sought the help of a marriage counselor. Then toddlerhood was looming- we found ourselves in a time warp, a never ending loop.
Parenting was overwhelming, especially when we experienced how much work our child needed us to invest into her and how little we could give back to ourselves, let alone the community around us.
Our original village quickly crumbled. We began to grieve the friends we couldn’t be around anymore. Not everyone was understanding of her needs. Some stayed right beside us as we navigated these new waters as parents, others questioned our ability to parent, her ability to function…
After the phone call to the pediatrician we soon found relief when we got our new village.
The therapists and specialists…
they found out we couldn’t go to play groups anymore. We couldn’t go to restaurants. We couldn’t go to friends’ homes. We couldn’t travel to see family anymore. We couldn’t leave the house. We couldn’t help her at home any more than we already had. We were doing so much to help our daughter every single day that we couldn’t even catch our breath. They saw this environment we had set up for her and came into it, understood it, and began to work with our daughter in that environment.
They sought out every aspect of her life- learning and growing with her. They sought out ways to better her life, set her up for successes, challenge her when needed, and worked alongside us as we did the same. They alleviated a lot of stress off our shoulders and began to do the work we had so diligently done since the day she was born.
Throughout this process of Early Intervention for our daughter, we formed a closer knit village.
At first, this village didn’t have room for any bells or whistles.
We were practicing two word phrases and transitions.
We were practicing getting the right sounds and lighting in our home for our daughter.
We were practicing touch and movement with her.
We started from a place that felt dark and difficult, calculated and consuming.
At one point in this journey there were 5 appointments scheduled into four days of the week. There were a million questionnaires, handouts, phone calls, set backs… so many things along the way that I cannot even begin to describe. More than 300 hours of scheduled appointments in an eight month span. Most days were tough, other days were a million times better than we could have ever imagined.
Many times I have been replaying in my head over and over what I could have done wrong as a parent to make it difficult for my daughter to find her place in this world. Many times I questioned if this was all my fault. Many times i question if I should ever even address this aspect of my journey as a parent. Many times I question how much is too much to share.
Many times there is no “real, good, final, perfect” way of answering those questions.
Many times I have come to this conclusion:
If there is another parent or another child in the same dark place we found ourselves in, I would want them to know that I was there too. If there was a glimmer of light in the same dark place we were at, my hope is that they would see our story, much like hieroglyphics, from beginning to end on the wall.
It is my understanding that every single journey from that dark place is different because every child and every family is different. However, if anyone were to see the beginning of our story, they would see that we faced many struggles like many other parents have experienced in some form or another.
On the wall in that dark place we once were, the ending would be show to be much different than the beginning.
We now find our family on a mountain… no longer hiding in a dark place. This mountain has all the bells and whistles. It has a huge village, a huge community of people who have surrounded our daughter with everything she would need to find her place in this world. We are no longer in the depths of that dark place we once found ourselves in (although having a nearly 3 year old is daunting in it’s own sense of the word).
Yes, this is our daughter’s journey and it is personal.
But this is also our family’s journey to finding our village.
We are so proud of where we have come, a resting place we have found on top of this new mountain we climbed.
We are so grateful for all of the hard work and love poured into our daughter and her journey (and ours as parents).
We are so grateful for the Early Intervention team.
We want to acknowledge this aspect of our daughter’s journey and we want it to be fully embraced as “good.”
She can’t seem to get enough of that park, filled with all the childhood goodness and most wonderful of memories, now.
Letticia Vickner, Creator & Editor
You can find my personal Instagram account here
I have been married to Erik for three years. Seeking a simpler lifestyle and an intimate understanding of myself is something I am always doing.I find myself reading novel after novel and listening to a good podcast or having time to myself to recharge and reboot for what my world asks of me on a daily basis. Being a woman, wife and mama are what inspires me.
© Letticia Vickner and Life and Times of a Happy Wife, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Letticia Vickner and Life and Times of a Happy Wife with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.