Sheehan’s Syndrome Woman’s
Baby Girl Turns Eighteen
Everyone’s childhood is like a snowflake. A person’s childhood perceptions compile from life experiences. This weekend it is a big life experience in our family as my baby girl, Sarah turns eighteen.
Like many parents I worry about my daughter’s future and if my husband and I have given her a foundation to navigate her future successfully. Sarah’s foundation was not what any family would consider normal, but life throws you curve balls, lemons, and plot changes.
I have frequent moments of saddened reflections about Sarah’s sense of normalcy. Our family humor can be a bit dark at times. My husband has joked numerous times that his car was the family ambulance, instead of your mom is at market it became; your mom is at the doctors.
However, through our dark days Sarah’s warmth, kindness, and loving heart filled my world with light. With mixed feelings, she continues to brighten my world as I read one of her college essays.
When my daughter asked me what she should write about for her college essay, I told her to write from the heart, honestly and passionately. She did. Sarah titled one of her Essays; My Perfect Family. So with mommy pride and my daughter’s permission I share her childhood reflections:
My perfect family has taught me that life has no guarantees, circumstances are not always fair and how to create tasty lemonade from lemons. Most people perceive that my family is your typical all-American family. Their perception would be incorrect, and they would wrongly confirm an illusion filled with good intentions.
Well, my family is perfect to me, I am aware the word,” perfect” to describe my world may be subjective. As a little girl, I believed the other suburbia neighbors had households filled with fun, carefree days and their lives were not similar to my world. I dreamt of a mom who drove me to school, baked me cookies and filled our house with laughter.
My four-year-old reality consisted of epileptic recurrences, my sister’s arrival into the world and the beginning of my mom’s life-threatening chronic illness. I recall the masquerade of relatives, friends and neighbors’ faces as they swarmed our home. However, it was not until the parade of random babysitters that I sensed my world had changed.
Sadly, I recall the moments when I discovered my mother’s illness started to spiral downward. Unfortunately, there were months when I was able to spend only hours with my mom. During this time, my father spent his time at her hospital bedside. Fortunately, my devoted grandparents were able to help raise my sister and me.
Even though I lacked the verbal skills to express myself, I felt heartbroken that my little sister would not be able to share her first years of life with our mother. My parents unavoidable absence catapulted my determination to be the best big sister. To the best of my ability, I exhibited love, support and nurtured my sister, Isabella. Over the past thirteen years, my sister and I have cried together, laughed together, encouraged each other, and I can easily write that Isabella has been and were my best friend.
Some people might view my young years as short-changed and filled with misfortune. However, I have felt fortunate to have experienced two parents who love me unconditionally, the love of extended family and involved the community that has given me hope. My world of nonstop health crisis and life with a mom who suffers from a chronic illness has caused me to mature quickly. I comprehend a person’s outward appearance may not represent their entirety and people often do not realize what others may have to encounter each day.
The closeness of my family has been woven through our journey together. I have realized that you can love and be loved even if the person is not always near you. My journey from childhood to young adult has taught me that I have the ability to achieve my goals, show sympathy and empathy. I aspire to teach others that you can measure perfect differently. My family is perfect.
After I had read my daughter’s essay a dozen plus times, I realized how a parent handles their obstacles is instrumental in your child foundation. Love, support, and care are just words if not backed by action. My daughter’s desire to play it forward makes me proud.
With a happy heart I feel my daughter’s life lessons have enabled her to be the perfect daughter. Sarah, you are perfect. Happy Birthday, My Sweet Girl. I hope Dad and I have given you roots and wings.
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