Finding Lost Freedoms

This week I “borrowed” a friend’s eight-year-old daughter. She came over to be a Mothers Helper for me. She was able to run way more energy out of M than I am and I got some extra cuddles in with N. She’s at that age of baby fever. I let her hold N for a little bit and she was over the moon.

At one point I was doing something in the kitchen and she came up to me and said, “There’s a lot less you can do as you get older.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when you’re a baby you can cry and throw your food and swat at toys. You can’t do that when you get bigger.”

“That’s right.” I said. In my mind I was thinking, “You have no idea.” The responsibilities and limitations that have attached themselves to me over the last few years are overwhelming. I’m a firstborn child who thrives on responsibility but at some point I hit the place of realizing, “I’m a full grown adult here and it’s not near as much fun as I thought it would be.”

My jaded perspective offered little value to this young girl but I did say, “Don’t try to grow up too fast okay?”

She answered me in such a confident way, almost like she had found the secret, “But you have way more freedoms when you get older, Ms. Kathy! Like sleep-overs, staying up later, and learning to sew!” Then she promptly skipped away.

Profound lesson from an eight-year-old.

I began to think of my freedoms. It’s harder to do because by the very nature of N, I’m more restricted. But if I look hard enough they’re there.

Someone who is a dear friend and mentor of mine visits weekly to hold N. Sometimes I sit and talk with her, sometimes she sends me off to Target with the big kid. She has even allowed me to go to M’s school events while she watches N. N has brought the blessing of her into my life on a weekly basis. I receive freedom from loneliness through her visits. Also, freedom to be with just M and that is a rare gift that most first kids don’t get when baby number two comes along.

We’ve also been able to get some respite funds through ECI so that I can get some freedom from the boys. The woman who comes to feed and massage N is a friend of mine’s mom. She confidently cares for my kids like my mother does. She even folds my laundry like my mom would do if she were here. I will gladly take some freedom from laundry folding! This respite money has allowed us date nights that we would not normally have, time for me to go to Starbucks to write, or just get errands done without dragging along a baby.

The feeding pump, as much as I hate it, also offers me some freedom. I’m not nursing and therefore not the only one who can feed by baby. It also feeds N continuously overnight, and as of the last couple weeks, he’s been sleeping for really long stretches. The pump allows me longer periods of sleep.

There are more nuggets of freedom in there too. Now I’ll start looking for them.

When Jesus spoke about freedom He talked about how we are no longer slaves to the law – all of the Jewish commandments. The Spirit of God allows us the freedom of living an adventure with Him and frees us up to truly love others. God has given me this family. Though N feels like a curve ball. Or, on some days, like I’ve been hit in the face. How often I feel restricted by him but really I’ve been given an opportunity to freely love and serve well.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Gal 5:13

My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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