Meet Paula and her three beautiful children. Paula pushes beyond the challenges of mothering and finds strength and joy through her children. She says “she does what needs to be done.” I was able to see her do that and more with such grace and love.
People always say you’re a “Great Mom, Paula.” Which is sweet, but I’m not sure why they say that because I just do what needs to be done. Of course, I don’t feel like a great mom when any of my children are hurting. For example, when my oldest daughter, Isabella, can’t communicate what is stressing her out even with her sign language. Or when my son Jacob just can’t stop bouncing with noises because he is hurting emotionally. Jacob, although very verbal, can not understand why “friends” sometimes say or do things that hurt him. It’s so frustrating to tell him that sometimes children or adults say things without thinking about what they are saying or doing. Jacob lives in a black and white world. It’s amazing to see the things he understands better than other children. He has such great empathy for others. He will do his best to make his sister, friends, family, and others happy because that makes him happy. He is always worried about pleasing others. I think he does this so he can be “normal.” I only wish more people had his heart… It’s just hard to see him hurting–wishing to be “normal” like his peers.
I wish I could take Isabella and Jacob’s hardships away. I would take that burden from them any day. They are the heroes in my family. I see this through my youngest daughter’s eyes. Rosalie adores her siblings. She is a typical child, but also so aware that her siblings might need an extra minute or a sensory break. Rosalie will try to calm Jacob down with a hug or run to get him a squishy ball for him to squeeze. She tells the others that Jacob was just born bouncy and that it’s it. Isabella was born without a voice, which stinks and that is why she talks with her hands. It’s just the way life has always been for Rosalie and I think she is growing up to be a wonderful little girl with a special understanding that not all people are the same.
No one expects to have children with challenges and even Rosalie get nervous in front of others. It’s her big brother who rescues her and always lets her join in to play with his friends. Of course, there will always be strangers who give the awkward stares when Isabella laughs a little too loud or Jacob starts his bouncing noise episodes, but that is when I hold them tighter and wish I could switch places with them. I think my greatest strength is given to me by my children and I am lucky each day to have them in my life.