Trevor and I have never wanted children, for many different reasons. Instead, we have pets. I have always said that we love our pets more than is probably okay. To us, they are our children. We would do anything for them, we would spare no expense and our lives revolve around them. They are the topic of the majority of our discussions and no decision is made without taking into account the affect on our babies.
When people talk about their children, the only thing we have to compare is our pets. Some take offense to this "are you comparing your dog to my kid". Yes. I am. And there is no better compliment that I could pay than to compare your kid to my dog.
Now, I understand that our pets are not human. I understand that it is different. I do, I promise that I do. But much of it is the same for us. I know that's not the case for everyone, but it is the case for us.
That being said....I was talking with a friend who has a child with special needs. He turned 5 the other day and she wrote the story of his birth and how she wasn't even sure he would live. Through a tremendous amount of dedication and effort, he is thriving. When I am dealing with Asha and many of her issues, I think of my friend. When I am struggling and getting no sleep and feeling lost and lonely, I think of her. I think of how her situation is much more difficult than mine and I wonder how she has done it, how she has held it together.
From our experience, I know that there is so much more to her story than anyone knows. I think of all the things that go on in our house,dealing with Asha, that no one else can possible fathom. The routines, the struggles, the exhaustion, the emotion. There are things that you just can't share with the world and the truth is, most people don't want to know anyway. I know that she has done things for that kid that the rest of us can never understand or imagine having to do.
When I was telling her how much I admire her for the things she has endured and that on many levels I can relate, she said something really awesome. She told me that we were lucky, that we were chosen for something special like that and that it was a reward. I love that. For so long I have felt like this was a punishment. Like the Universe was trying to show me just how selfish I am and just how little patience I have and what a bad person I am because of that. Just recently, I have started to see it differently. I think my friend is right...my sweet Asha is not a punishment, she is a blessing. And while its been the most challenging thing I have ever done in all my life and many days I have wondered how I would make it another day, I know that we are doing something amazing. We are doing something that most people could not and would not do. For that, we are lucky.
When I see how much progress Asha has made, when she leans against me while I sit on the deck in the sun, when I see my other dogs run and play, it almost hurts. Because we are happy. For so long, I've been stuck seeing all that is wrong with our situation. I couldn't see all the things that are right. Alaina could not have said it better. We ARE lucky. All of us.