I Never Was an ‘I Got This’ Girl. Then, I Became a Mom.
“That was like a crazy trust exercise.” — Anna from Disney’s “Frozen.”
Anna says this after she plunges and falls off a freezing mountain and yells, “Catch!” She’s literally only inches away from the ground, so of course this is funny, as the trust exercise is really… well… you get the gist. I’m sure, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve must have seen “Frozen.” (No offense if you a) have never seen Frozen or b) live under a rock.) I’ve seen “Frozen” about 67 times.
I’m not an “I got it” girl. I was the girl in gym in the outfield who yelled, “I got it!” but when the ball would fly at me fast, the realist in me would think, “Wait a second, I’m not getting hit in the head or face with this ball!” Instead of catching it, I would cover my face to all the groans of my classmates. I totally didn’t have it. When we practiced gymnastics, I refused to try a cartwheel (I still have never ever done one. Seriously.) When it came time to jump over the gymnastics horse I would run to it stop. Again, I didn’t have it. There was no trust. This crazy trust exercise wasn’t happening. I didn’t (and don’t) do roller coasters, I get car sick unless I’m driving, I always read the directions, I always wear my seatbelt — I recheck my seatbelt. One can never be too safe…
I’m not the “I got it” girl.
So one could imagine that when God was creating my big plan in life he knew this. For my oldest child, God blessed me with an “I got it” child. She literally came out of my womb “with it.” If Audrey (now 5) could have came out of me speaking she would have taken over the rest of the delivery and walked out of the hospital looking for an apartment. Audrey definitely “has it.” Sometimes for a 5-year-old she has it too much. She loves roller coasters and cartwheels — anything fast, exciting, happy and fabulous.
For my youngest child, God blessed me with another happy “I got it” kid, who also has special needs (she’s now 3.) She actually went through a phase where she said the phrase “I got it!” constantly. She came out of me sunny side up, three weeks early and would only stop crying if she was moving. From the moment I held her, a crazy thing happened in my life. I “had” it. I knew something was up. But no one else seemed to a) believe me or b) understand that I had it.
I started to think God was up to something. I am a big fan of God. I love the guy, and I love church. I didn’t think God did something wrong with my child. No. I wasn’t a parent who felt slighted or angry or was asking, “Why?” or “Why me?” or “Are you sure?” I was not in denial. I saw the ball coming at me fast in the outfield and for the first time, when I yelled, “I got it,” I really did. I didn’t cover my eyes or my face. I was ready. I understood God’s delivery. Suddenly I had it. My baby made her announcement clear. She needed to be moving at all times. At 3, that hasn’t changed; she hasn’t stopped moving.
Now, I don’t have the option of closing my eyes or not jumping the horse, and quite frankly, I’ve never once wanted to — I feel natural for once in my life.
I opened my eyes, my heart, my mind and my glove and did a crazy trust fall. I accepted everything. I believed my instincts. I trusted my gut. I let the Big Guy guide me and comfort me on super bad days. And there have been many. This can be a super lonely journey.
Accepting your special needs child immediately and being open about it all can actually breed isolation it seems. It can break apart a marriage. It can have strangers, friends and families ask you, “Are you sure there’s something wrong with her?” It makes you doubt yourself even.
I can’t control the ball hitting my face, the roller coaster, the car, the mailman, my little one’s diagnosis or my eldest’s incredible sense of self and bravery. What I do have is the ability to just be me — to the best “I got it” self each day, right?
I have a picture on my kitchen counter that’s a reminder I see every morning as I get the kids ready. It reads:
“‘I Got This.’ – God.”
And he does.
Read more from Samantha Gill on The Mighty:
Why I Let My Daughter Rearrange the Chairs in the Waiting Room
When the Pet Shop Owner Didn’t ‘Get’ My Daughter With Special Needs