I am going to attach a few photos from my computer and attempt to email some from my phone. If you don’t get a second email with photos from my phone let me know… for some reason I seem to have issues with those emails not going through.
A few weeks ago, Owen had to write a book report for school. He is in first grade, so the report wasn’t difficult. He had to fill in the answers to questions, share the title and author of the book, and color the butterfly on the large sheet of paper he was given to write everything on.
Owen chose to write about a book we got a couple of years ago on vacation, The Octopuppy, by Martin McKenna. It’s a story about a little boy, Edgar, who wants a puppy. Instead he gets Jarvis, an octopus. Edgar is disappointed and tries his best to make Jarvis act like a dog. He enters him in a dog show and trains him to behave like a dog. On the day of the big dog show, “Jarvis could only be himself.” Poor Edgar, he was so embarrassed and disappointed. I won’t ruin the rest of the story for you, but it’s a cute book.
I wish I had thought to write down all the questions and answers before handing the report in. I just didn’t realize how much I would be thinking about this over the next couple weeks. I certainly didn’t expect to be writing about it. We have read the book about 100 times and I never thought to write about it before.
One of the questions asked, “Who was your favorite character?” Owen chose Edgar, which was a surprise to me. He liked Edgar best because he learned to love Jarvis. Wow.
The second question that really stuck with me was, “Who do you relate to in the story?” He chose Jarvis, because he is funny and silly.
It’s the night before Mother’s Day and I’m sitting in my living room thinking about Mother’s Day 8 years ago. I was pregnant and so excited to be a mom. I remember making plans to go out and celebrate what I joked would be “our last quiet Mother’s Day celebration for years to come. I enjoyed all the attention of being pregnant with none of the real responsibility of mothering. I couldn’t wait for Owen to be born. We were waiting for his birth to be surprised and didn’t even know if we were going to have a little Owen, or a little Clara. I was so certain it would be a girl.
On Mother’s Day 7 years ago, we celebrated with our baby, he was certainly not a girl. Not only that but I was still struggling to come to terms with learning that our baby was different. He wasn’t the “healthy” baby everyone hopes and prays for; he was a baby that would need to work harder for all the things that came naturally to other babies. I loved him so much, but I was very afraid about what our future would be like.
Now Owen is 7, we are about to celebrate our 8th Mother’s Day with him and I just keep thinking about how the things we want and the things we get can be very different. I imagined tea parties, baby dolls, ballet lessons, and certainly a typical healthy child. I did not imagine a little boy (though now I can’t imagine wanting anyone else) and I certainly didn’t imagine a life of specialists and therapists and delayed speech.
In the book, when Edgar meets Jarvis, he was expecting a puppy. He looked at him and all he could say was, “Oh.” When I found out my baby was a boy, I’m ashamed to admit that a little part of me felt that way, “Oh.” Then 7 months later we were hit with the information that our child had special needs, not only that but something we had never even heard of. “Oh.” It certainly wasn’t what we expected.
The thing is, sometimes what we expect and what we get aren’t the same. Often, we learn, we were just wrong about what we thought we wanted.
I thought I wanted tea parties, but instead I got stomping in puddles. The other day we stomped in puddles until our shoes were filthy and our pants were soaked. We had to ditch our messy clothes at the door and run inside to change. I’ll take that over a tea party any day.
I wanted baby dolls and you know what, we have some. We have “my” first ever American Girl Doll, Logan. He’s awesome. He plays drums in a band. Owen loves music too. We also have a super cool Princess castle, sure it’s Princess Peach’s castle and came with Super Mario figures but we love it.
No, I don’t get to be a ballet mom. That’s only because Owen takes tap dance instead of ballet. When I see him hopping around in those little tap shoes and smiling his big smile, it makes me so, so happy. He also has a tutu he loves to dance around the house in, so maybe ballet is still a possibility.
As for all the doctors, therapies, and school meetings, they aren’t my favorite. Sometimes I wish our lives were easier, but I wouldn’t trade it. We have met some of the most amazing friends because of Owen’s diagnosis. You wouldn’t be reading this right now if it wasn’t for the diagnosis because I wouldn’t be writing for the PEARLS blog. I’d just be any other mom, instead I am Owen’s mom.
Like Edgar, I have learned to love the things I didn’t expect. I have learned that I can’t make Owen something he isn’t. I don’t want to make Owen someone else because he is amazing. He is silly and funny and special… Just like Jarvis.