Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An experiment in exposure (or lessons learned from grand-daughters)

My daughter C. does her hydrotherapy while her
two nieces look on

I've related how our children do not seem to love C. or show any interest in her. I have also confessed that I am primarily to blame for that painful fact (here). 

But our grandchildren are a different story entirely. They haven't had to suffer from C.'s presence the way our children did - burdened with harried and stressed parents always scrambling to meet the endless needs of a profoundly afflicted sibling. But they have been exposed up close to disability in more manageable doses.

The result - at least at this stage - has been curiosity about and compassion for C. And sometimes I'm just blown away by their insight.

For instance, the first thing the oldest, 6, noticed about the birthday card I gave her after it was read to her was the signature. I'd written my name, the hubby's name, the name of our 21 year old daughter who lives at home - but nary a  mention of C. Mea culpa.

Then she and her three year old sister spent yesterday with us, and watched me prepare C. for school. I told them that I was rushing to get her to the hydrotherapy session, and that I know C. thoroughly enjoys it from the calm that envelops her body the minute she enters the water. I described the skillful way she back-floats unassisted

The six year old begged to come see her in action. I was thrilled to oblige (see photo above).

And even before she turned one, the youngest granddaughter - now a year and a half - started saying C.'s name while pointing to her excitedly.and climbing onto C.'s lap when she's in her wheelchair.

Yet another welcome facet of this "experiment" has been the pride with which our children alert us to their own children's love for C. It's as if they are finally bonding with their estranged sister through their offspring.

The post I'm currently working on: Coping With Failure: When your Child Just Doesn't Progress. I'd love to hear and incorporate your thoughts on this topic.

No comments: