I read something very interesting in Psychology Today (it’s like being in Psych 101 again). It was an article about genetic testing — a topic that interests me for several reasons. I learned something unexpected from the article (always a good thing for a jaded person such as myself). Here’s the sentence that got me: “An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.”
That’s what a lot parents who have children with special needs do. Wait. Wait to see what the neurologist says (I can assure you that he or she has no clue). Wait to see what the latest test reveals (good luck interpreting that!). Wait to see what the latest intervention (eg: vision therapy; art therapy; yoga) does (at the very least: makes the parent feel better). The waiting. It’s non-productive. In fact, according to the author: “Instead of adapting, we get chronically stressed out..” Umm…
This brings me back to what Victoria, Isabella’s sister, has said. It is what it is. Of course, as the parent of a chid with special needs, I am doing everything for Isabella that I believe will help her. At the same time, over the past year (finally, as she is 14 fast approaching 15) I have come to the realization that Isabella is a fantastic kid just the way she is.
I feel released.
Of course, a book with the title Twin appeals to me as a mother of twins. This book is especially pertinent to me. It’s authored by the twin of a disabled (I do not like that term) twin. Um. What does he have to say? The author is Alan Shawn who happens to be the son of the former editor of The New Yorker. Okay, that probably means that the book is well-written.
The book starts by Shawn revealing that his phobias (which are many) are due mostly to the fact that his sister was shipped off to a residential living facility following a summer at camp. He as also inherited a few phobias from his father. (Aren’t all very bright people a bit off?) And he tells us several times that his father had a protracted love affair while he was raising his family. (This fact is not particularly germaine to the what happens to the other sibling theme, though it does make for interesting reading.)
The most poignant part of the book is when the writer’s literary father observes that Mary (the institutionalized twin) is a happier than they are. This is something to think about. It’s the parents who mostly suffer…and the closest in age sibling (according to the book). Parents bemoan the life that they believe that the disabled child ought to be living. This is very far from the life that the child lives in real life, of course. Hence, the term “bemoan.” The parents are unhappy because they believe that the child is missing out.
The child, however, does not think that she is missing out. She lives in the same lovely home as her siblings. She eats the same nutritious food (and then some) as her siblings. She has relationships with the same relatives. She goes to school and has friends at the school. The school isn’t the same as her twin and only was for a short time in her educational career, but she’s okay with that. In fact, she’s okay with everything.
Once, I asked Victoria if she’s missed having a normal sister relationship with Isabella. Victoria coolly responded how can she miss something that she never had. I quickly pointed out the other sister relationships in her life, such as mine with her aunt. She just looked at me. WTF. I’ve come to believe (or pretend to believe) it is what it is.
For me, the major theme of the book was not be sure to keep your other children in the loop least they end up with the problems. It was each person in the family impacts the other. Zachary, Isabella’s twin, would not who he is today without living with Isabella. Of course, the twin thing makes her influence on him more intense. Maybe it has something to do with being bathed in the same amniotic fluid or experiencing the exact same moments together in the womb.
You really never know how your kids will end up. In the end, you simply want them to be happy and to be loved.
On http://www.momversation.com one of the mommy bloggers said that we get the children we deserve. What’s that all about? Is there karma involved in the merging of the sperm and egg. I doubt it. Genetics isn’t that smart and cunning. It’s random. Sorta like life.