At lunch a couple of weeks ago, my sister made a remark that I quickly dismissed.
Having a bad day
Gelli was having a bad day. She was screaming and attracting so much attention to our table because she was over tired and was not happy with anything that we put in front of her. She wanted her iPad. She wanted it to be on the loudest setting possible, and she wanted it immediately. The boys were bickering. I was hot and the air conditioning was not working efficiently in the restaurant that we chose for a quick lunch, and my patience was running thin.
Being pulled in so many directions
Nino was texting me and asking me how lunch was going, when all I could do was rant.
We were doing everything we could to appease the little girl, and for some reason. Nothing was working. Until she saw her soup! She wanted to drink her soup, and she wanted it (you guessed it, immediately) so she pulled the bowl closer without waiting for her yaya and of course the HOT SOUP spilled all over her.
We addressed the change of clothes, checked for any burns, and when I was sure she was ok, I had to let out a sigh of relief and say a little prayer for patience.
It was one of those days.
Who’s da Boss?
But as my sister said “She’s the BOSS, in the house, isn’t she?” and while I dismissed the comment, my son said, “YES. She is the boss, Tita Maria.”
“She is the reason why we became so close. She is the reason why we joined the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines. She is the reason why my mom started blogging. She is the reason why we found Best Buddies. And she is the reason why my mom works so hard.”
“In fact, she is the reason why we do a lot of things. So, I after Miguel’s comment, I guess I DO think she is the BOSS.”
Moments that change you
I have written before about “moments that change you.” I have written how something so pivotal as the birth of a child with special needs alters who you are, changes you for the better, and shifts your perspective or your paradigm. Those are the really huge moments…the moments that are written in the journals of your memories in CAPITAL LETTERS, with indelible ink. The kind of moments where you can see a HUGE change in how you view the world, and more importantly, how you carry yourself in the world, after the moment has passed.
But there are other “moments that change you.” The a-ha moments where you might not realize it until much later that it had such an immense effect on you. These moments are usually conversations, observations, or even just quiet time where you were sitting by yourself, and something jogs your memory, or it causes you to ponder what exactly just happened.
Contemplating the mundane
These are the moments that pass without pomp or circumstance. There is no welcome song, or drum roll that leads up to them. These moments are usually not documented, save for a blog entry like this.
All this time, as a parent, I know that it is my responsibility to help shape my kids into productive individuals who will contribute to society in a real and meaningful way.
All this time, as a teacher, I encourage my students to reach their full potential. At times, I coddle them. At times, I push them outside of their comfort zone. I do this with love, affection, and of course the understanding that even if I am the teacher, (or the parent) that most of the time I certainly, DO NOT know everything.
Who’s the teacher?
The a-ha moments that I facilitate in the classroom, or the yoga studio, or when I’m volunteering are what we call “teachable moments.”
These are the moments that we capitalize on as teachers. You know your student is listening. There is a spark of curiosity. They are usually cracked wide open and ready to receive what ever wisdom or understanding that you will impart on them as their facilitator of learning.
Who’s the student?
These same moments exist between parent and child. I have often said that my children are my greatest teachers. I have often said how, my children hold a mirror to me like no one else can.
However, what I didn’t realize until my son pointed it out, is how much my daughter with Down Syndrome has shaped who I have become in the past few years. What I failed to recognize is how she gave me the courage to put myself out there. To fight for what I know is her due. To stand up for others with intellectual disabilities….just like her.
So in this case, she cracked ME wide open. She knew I was ready for her. She gave me more courage than I knew I had in me, with her extra chromosome.
So, the smallest child in our home aka the Mini BOSS has become the teacher…
And as her momma, I didn’t even see it coming…
I started writing this post about four years ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t post it, because I made very few grammatical edits before hitting publish this morning. What I do know, is that it is a timely post for the month of February.
February is Down Syndrome Consciousness Month. It’s a month where everyone here in the Philippines, who loves someone with Down Syndrome, let’s everyone know how blessed we feel because of that extra chromosome. So, while I share my thoughts and maybe even joke a little that Gelli has taken on a very important leadership role in our home, I also honor her for her extra chromosome and the force that she is to reckon with.
If you know someone who has just been gifted with their own potential “Little Boss” (or Baby Boss as my sons like to to call her) please reach out to The Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines. Attending their Early Intervention Seminar is the best thing you can do for your family as you embark on this new journey…