I was angry. Black cloud following me everywhere I went kind of angry.
I had stopped posting updates on Peanut because I was getting too frustrated with people saying “I knew she could do it” or “of course she did!” when I announced an accomplishment. I would think, “No. No, you don’t know. You have no idea. You haven’t been here for the last month while we struggled over and over again through the tears and failures that led up to this one moment. How can you just sum this moment up so casually?!” And when someone would say , “It can’t be that bad.” or, “Can’t she just do this?” I would want to fall apart and cry. I would think, “How can they think this is so simple?”
I would hurt for Peanut because the first thing many people would talk about or ask about was her disability. And many would point out what she wasn’t doing or can’t do and told me what I should do to “improve her life”. I would feel the weight of the world on my shoulders trying to satisfy everyone. Trying to explain why we’re doing this and not that would exhaust me, but I didn’t want to let anyone think I was doing anything less than everything possible for Peanut.
People would ask for updates as if they deserved it. Even when nothing “big” was going on. As if she was some ongoing experiment. And when I was vague, some would push as if I was being rude not to keep them informed. And it hurt so badly every single time.
There were so many suggestions. ALWAYS suggestions. ALWAYS ideas. So many. So many that I began to think that people thought we weren’t doing enough. Because why else would they keep telling me about more and more and MORE? It began to hurt too much, so I stopped posting things. I stopped sharing. I pushed everyone away because I couldn’t handle it without burning down bridges.
And most of all – It would disappoint me to the extreme when people never thought to ask what Peanut wanted in all of this.
So that’s when I removed myself. I took the deepest, most calming (metaphorical) breath of my life. I let all of the worry, anxiety, frustration, anger, offense and sadness out. And an amazing thing happened.
I didn’t care anymore.
I didn’t care what everyone else thought.
Not in a “bugger-off I’ll do what I want” kind of way. But in an “agree to disagree and move on” kind of way.
I have taken time to just breathe and realize that, no, people probably never really will understand. And that’s okay. They don’t need to understand. Understanding is irrelevant. What’s important is supporting Peanut and encouraging her. And I have learned to teach people the right way to encourage her. To set their expectations to her level, not theirs. To respect what she wants and needs. That maybe she can’t handle this overwhelming regiment of therapies, miracle cures and testing because she is a three-year old little girl with three-year old little girl needs. And many of them have nothing to do with her special needs.
I have realized that speaking up, no matter how much I don’t want a person to dislike me or my views, is imperative. And I have realized that speaking up doesn’t always mean a fight. Most people aren’t looking for a fight. They’re looking to understand because they want to help. And that’s something I can get behind. So I have been speaking up when necessary and shutting my mouth when necessary. I have been educating and correcting where I felt necessary. And I have learned that if someone is going to dislike me or my views on what’s important for Peanut, then that’s their problem to work through. Not mine.
And you know what? An amazing thing is happening. People are understanding, respecting, stepping back or stepping up.
Most people never will truly understand what we go through on a daily basis. And I have realized that that’s not my problem. Nor is it anyone else’s. The only one who matters in all of this is Peanut. And if she’s satisfied with where we’re at, then that’s good enough for me.