If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know that I recently resigned from teaching to tend to all of Princess's needs. Yesterday we were in the neighborhood near my former school. It kind of made me sentimental about my teaching career. Princess was in the car and asked me if I miss teaching. I told her that most days I do not. Then I asked her if she knew why I am not teaching any more. She said "So that you could help me." Wow! She gets it. I asked her if she liked that I was home more. She replied in the affirmative. Then she went on to sing my praises. When she was done, you would have thought I should have won the mother of the year award. I was in shock and awe.
For many years it was not like this at all. To say that I had a strained relationship with my daughter would be putting it mildly. I know that many parents of kids with mental illnesses will tell you that they have a tenuous relationship with their child as well. If I am honest, when I was working, it was easier to work all day than to be home with Princess. I could ignore all of the issues at home while I was teaching. My workplace became an oasis of sorts.
I also knew that my husband had a very special bond with our daughter. Princess told me many times that she loved him more than she loved me. I was happy that my daughter had such a special daddy but was sad that Princess's relationship with me wasn't even close.
For six weeks in late 2012 Princess and I spent a lot of time together while she received outpatient treatment in a neighboring county. It was too far to drive back and forth every day so we stayed at a hotel during the week nights and drove home on the weekends. We spent a lot of 1:1 time together during that time. I believe that was when our relationship really began to heal.
As time has gone on and I am able to be more available to my daughter we have both learned to appreciate each other more. I have learned many things about my daughter. I learned that it is important that she knows that I am there when she gets off of the school van every day. It is vital that I am there to assist with her homework. It is paramount that I am able to have the time to email her teachers and staff members about concerns. It is significant that I have the flexibility to stay home with her if she is sick or did not get a good night's sleep.
Recently Princess had a bad case of the stomach flu. I was up from 12 a.m.- 6 a.m. with her. When I was teaching, I would have either been stressed about missing work the next day or woke my husband up to ask him to take a shift for a few hours. Since I am now home full time, I did not have those concerns.
I understand that not all parents of kids with Special Needs can stay home but for us it has proven to be highly effective. Another mom of a Special Needs kid put it this way "My child only has one childhood. Right now she needs me in it more."
There are many factors that play into why my relationship with my daughter has been mended but I believe the number one reason is just being able to be there more for her. For that I feel blessed and grateful that I listened to God when He told me to make Princess a priority.