When I was pregnant, I was hoping for a healthy little baby girl.
I had images of us in my head and in my heart. My daughter and I walking, chatting, going to the book store and sitting around a coffee shop with our books and magazines. My baby would turn into a beautiful young lady, polite and respectful, and she would love me the way I love my mom. We would go shopping and we would travel the world together. She would probably dance, be really good at school and grow-up to be an amazing woman…
After Emily was diagnosed, I had to fill out some paperwork detailing her handicap/disability. I looked at the form, all she could do was see and hear. She was severely affected physically, mentally and her gross & fine motor skills were non-existent. I knew I had to sign the form and send it to the government but I sat there and looked at it for days. I didn’t want to admit it to myself.
Emily didn’t die when she was diagnosed but my dreams did. All of them were shattered.
Regularly I had to go back to the calls that changed my life and remind myself that I could do this, that all I had to do was look at my daughter for who she was not for who she could have been. I had to adjust my dreams.
November 2012, my husband, daughter and I traveled to Bermudas. While at the Fairmont Hamilton, I noticed they were offering afternoon tea. Emily likes tea; her Nana introduced her to it.
I asked Emily if she wanted to come to afternoon tea with me. Explained that it would be like pretend tea but for real. We’d pick our tea and tiny sandwiches, and wear our pretty dresses and try to drink tea with our pinkies up. She agreed to try.
I reserved a table, we got all dolled up, said goodbye to daddy and we went for tea.
Most people looking at us saw a mother and daughter (and a doll) having tea. I saw a dream, a dream I wasn’t even allowing myself to have anymore. Emily picked a jasmine butterfly tea and I can’t remember what I picked. We took both trays of sandwiches and every other little finger food they would bring us.
We tried everything, some things she liked while others she didn’t. She had an opinion, on the tea and the food. She had an opinion on the live music. We had small chit-chat and she tried drinking with her pinky up. We laughed!
I discretely wiped tears from my eyes. I didn’t want Emily to see how happy I was. I didn’t want to confuse her.
Sometimes, our dreams are so big, so far away that we can’t imagine getting there. I had given up on this dream of enjoying a beverage with Emily while talking. When it happened, I was speechless. I wanted to hug her and tell everybody around us how special this moment was but I didn’t. It was our moment.
I do have that daughter from my earlier dreams after-all. She is polite, she adores me, she is beautiful inside and out. She is determined to learn and work hard on learning to read and understanding math.
But the most important thing is that she is herself and has opinions. Just like the girl in my dreams.