My now six-year-old daughter came to me when she was just three-months-old through foster care, and later joined my family officially through adoption. I have spent the last six years building up my portfolio when it comes to advocating for her as a special-needs child. But then there are these moments, these incredibly important moments, when I simply see the princess inside her. Those moments are even better than learning how to navigate the system of services for our children.
As much as I fight for my kids and teach others how to love them best, it isn’t always about the struggle or the current need at hand. It is about this little girl who sees herself as the princess she is. There is a spark in her, and it is my job as her mother to help keep that spark alive.
I might seem like a drill sergeant mom to her teacher for expecting resources and assistance for her educational special-needs. Maybe when I was her foster mom I seemed like the overwhelmed lady who ran from services to therapies to court hearings. But what I hope to remember, for all of us to remember, is that aside from seeking support for our kids with high needs, we need to celebrate who they are as individuals.
The other day, my sweet six-year-old was in the bathroom with me while I finished my hair. Firework by Katy Perry was playing, which she knows from the movie Madagascar. I watched her sing her little heart out in front of the giant bathroom mirror. In that moment, I saw the princess inside of her. It just hit me, like it was something I forgot. How could I forget? How did I let the busyness of life distract me from this beauty I see in my daughter? I found myself tearing up over how beautiful and wonderful she was. I was in awe of the joy and happiness I saw in her that morning.
I think it is easy to get stuck focusing on the ages and stages of our kids, but on this day I saw just how she sees herself. Without a ‘special-needs’ label. There was no concern for the academic status of next year. There were no worries about the future or discontentment from the past. She was just enjoying the moment and had a love and acceptance of herself that was inspiring to watch.
As moms we hold onto a lot, we carry the burden of worry, and fret over what once was and what might come. It weighs us down. We prepare to fight for our kids, work to protect them ,and provide the best we can. I wonder what would happen if we relaxed a little more and had our own mini concert sessions in front of the bathroom mirror?
I am inspired by my sweet six-year-old daughter for moving through life without fear, finding joy in all moments, and for loving herself with such confidence. I think it is easy to forget those attitudes about life as an adult. Let’s remember as parents to help our kids keep their eye on the prince or princess inside, and maybe we will even start to see one in ourselves.