I have wonderful children, I have an almost 5-year-old who started kindergarten two weeks ago, and my two-year-old son who has Type 1. Ashleigh started kindergarten in the middle of August, and with that new transition has brought wonderful joyous times, that allow her to have something of her own.
For the most part, Ashleigh has been a wonderful assistant, and cheerleader for her brother, yet as she ages, I can sense the twinges of jealousy, not just from the extra time Carter gets with me alone, but also because my mind is always half focused on her. Intelligence is a wonderful gift my children have had bestowed upon them, it can make it difficult to mask my half attention while Ashleigh talks about her show and tell, and continuing to monitor Carter’s Type 1.
Lately Ashleigh has been acting out, I chalk this up to the old adage “any attention is good attention, even if it’s negative.” I work tirelessly to be there equally for my children, but how do you explain this to a five-year-old who is desperate to share every moment of her day at school with you, even when it cuts into Carter’s lunch calculation.
Along with the new routine, I feel pulled in even more directions. I have a son who misses his sister and doesn’t understand why she’s gone, then I have a daughter who wants all of me when she I pick her up. Such is the life of a mother, yet things feel a little more tightly wound due to Carter’s needs.
I do my best to switch gears and give Ashleigh the attention she is so desperate for when I pick her up from school, but at the end of the day I am human, and it’s important that she gain a realistic perspective of that, even in these formative years. We have a lot of discussions about being conscientious and self-aware, realizing when conversations need to be pushed for a 5 minute span in order to allow me the focus she is craving. Ashleigh is good at understanding adult rationale and I am lucky in that arena.
I work so hard to meet the needs of others all day, and when everyone is in bed, secretly I feel like I am constantly failing. I cloak those feelings with the victories we have had, me with Carter, me with Ashleigh and us as a complete family of four. Mother guilt is there whether you have one child with special needs or two children with zero complications. I work to not have Ashleigh feeling ostracized by Diabetes, and in the same fashion work to have Carter not feel left behind by Ashleigh’s kindergarten strides.
I know at some point we will find the perfect balance, now as I muddle through each day, reinforcing my love for both is the best I can give, and reminding myself that I did my best each night as I lay my head down on the pillow, allows me to not only love my children, but also love myself.