|Moira, age 7 - Easter Sunday 2011|
Moira is such a special little girl. My oldest daughter. Our first born daughter after a stillborn son and miscarriage. She is so smart, funny, fiercely independent, and more courageous than she knows. She is the best big sister to Peyton. She knows more about medical stuff than any 7 year old should ever have to know!
I often say that having Moira and Peyton is like having two only children. Moira is a healthy, happy 7 year old. Peyton is a 5 year old with multiple special needs, who is also medically fragile. She's been in and out of the hospital so many times. Her everyday needs are overwhelming. We have 70 hours a week of in-home nursing care. Therapists come twice a week. During the school year, Peyton is homebound, so her school teacher and therapists come to our home several days a week. Moira and Peyton have needs that are demanding. Moira's are like any other child her age. Peyton's...not so much.
I love both of my children equally, there is no doubt whatsoever. But the demands of our unique family situation are often overwhelming and always exhausting. I am not super mom. I can't do it all. I have little to no energy most of the time. It is often everything I can do just to get by each day and get the day to day stuff done. Moira suffers as a result and I'm very sad to admit that. I often feel like I have failed her as a mom.
Moira's an amazing kid! She truly is. We got her into soccer this past spring and she played her little heart out. By the end of the season, she was doing so much better! She's a great swimmer, and people often comment on that when we're down at the pool.
We're not like a lot of families around here. We don't have endless resources to put our child into every sport known to man. We don't have the means to put her in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, etc. like a lot of people do. We don't have the means to take family vacations like they were going out of style. Moira did have a summer vacation with her Dad. The two of them went to visit his family in Texas for a week at the beginning of July. I didn't go - I stayed home with Peyton, who is just not able to travel. I desperately wanted to take Moira up to Canada to visit my Dad around the time of the first anniversary of my Mom's passing, but we just couldn't do it.
Summer fun? Hmm. I'm not sure about that. Moira is so anxious to get back to school. Why?? Because that's where her "friends" are. Moira is an amazing, fun, funny, lovable child who has had not one single play date all summer.
Our family's version of "normal" is so not normal. It's so off-putting to so many people. We can't help our situation. It is what it is. We would love to have two normal healthy children and be like the world's vision of a "normal family". But, I don't know...maybe I don't want that. In fact, being on this side of things, I would rather be sitting where I'm sitting. Although it's extremely difficult and often feels like more than we can bear, it's given us a unique perspective on so many things.
I often sit back and project my fears on Moira. I had very few friends growing up. That's a blog post for another time. But my fear is that Moira will wind up in the same boat as me. She's definitely not shy like I was and she seems to have far more acquaintances at school than I did, but she doesn't seem to have that "true friend" that she can hang out with, have sleepovers with, etc.
My prayer for Moira is for her to remain a strong little girl. I pray that God can grant her peace over our unique family situation and give her the ability persevere through the difficult times which I'm sure she must face as a result. What child wants to see their baby sister go in and out of the hospital as often as this?? When Peyton's gone, so am I! I pray that God would bless her with a special friend who she can grow up with. I want Moira to be able to look back on her childhood and have all kinds of fond memories of her BFF!! I also pray that God will grant me the strength to be able to be there for Moira just as much as I am for Peyton, but in the way that she needs. I don't want her to look back and remember me as a mom who didn't do anything with her when she was a kid. I hope and pray that these will not be her memories and I hope that she will one day understand and have forgiveness for me and compassion for our situation.
Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.