autism · Down syndrome

I’m Jealous of You.

I see your posts. You talk about how hard it is to potty train your daughter that is younger than mine. Potty training isn’t even on our radar right now, to be truthful. That’s not going to happen for at least another year or so…if we’re lucky.

I’m jealous of you.

I read your statuses. How tired you are from running from one sport to the next, then on to birthday parties.  My son doesn’t play team sports because he gets too overstimulated. He doesn’t get invited to many birthday parties.

And I’m jealous of you.autism down syndrome jealousy special needs

I see you at the store; you get away with people not looking twice at your kids- you don’t see that look of recognition, sometimes of pain and worse times of pity,  as they notice your daughter’s extra chromosome. I see you in the malls, walking with your kids, not worried about what next sound is going to send them running in terror in the opposite direction. I see you at my other son’s basketball games walking in from the parking lot to cheer for your child, as I sit with my son who is hiding in the back of my car.  His autism fills the space between.

I’m so jealous of you.

I listen as you whisper in your child’s ear. You hum songs and they respond in delight.  My heart aches as realize that my daughter has never heard the sound of my whisper. That late night songs sung to comfort and every whispered, “I love you” never made it past her tiny ear canals.

The jealousy takes its place next to the ache in my heart.

You capture every milestone as they come naturally for your child. First steps. First words. I capture those, too. But they are after hours and hours of therapy, sleepless nights and drained bank accounts.  You talk about goals kicked and awards won, I speak of services gained and lawsuits averted. You work for your child’s place on team. I work for my child’s place in the classroom.

I hate myself for being jealous of normal.

It’s not your fault you don’t have kids wI'm Jealous of youith disabilities any more than it’s my fault that I do. With my oldest, I loved meeting those milestones, and I know I bragged about them. I didn’t get it. I had no frame of reference. I didn’t realize how great it was that he developed the right muscles in the right way to sit, crawl then walk. I didn’t get with my other typical developing child how great it was that speech set in naturally without us having to painstakingly draw out language, bit by bit, sign by sign and sound by sound.

And I’m sure I don’t realize how lucky I am to have an autistic son who can talk, and a daughter with Down syndrome who can hear as much as she does, and is doing as well as she is.

Jealousy is a worthless emotion. Even if it pushes you to do more or be more, you’re not doing it for the right reasons. I fight this jealousy.  And, on days like today, I lose.

I’m jealous of you.

19 thoughts on “I’m Jealous of You.

  1. I hear you. I feel the same sometimes, how wouldn’t we..?
    But in the end, even before, almost suddenly, I became a “special needs mummy blogger” (…) myself those wonderful blogs full of milestone ticking and adventures in baking touched me far less than the honest insights of mothers like you.
    I know it’s considered bad style to post a link or promote yourself but I blogged on exactly the same thing and found inspiration in my mothers ability to simply admire the possessions and achievements of others.
    It does not take away from our own achievements, our own kids’ milestones, to see others thrive in different ways. Our lives are different. http://suburp.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/thankful-thursday-letting-go-of-parental-envy/

  2. I understand, and I thank you for sharing, I keep trying to blog about my kids but I am afraid. Thank you for being brave, angry and gentle . Maybe this is just the kick in the butt I needed.

  3. This was such a beautifully written post. We all have our days and sometimes it does feel like we have more of them than not but for me I can’t help but feel sorry for those parents who are lost in the small things because that’s what they are lost and their eyes are closed to our world. And that’s okay but they are SO missing out! Yes, our children sometimes grow differently, play differently, learn differently, talk differently and even may look differently than other non chromosomally enhanced children but WE WERE the CHOSEN ones and at the end of the night that speaks for itself! In my opinion, it is parents who don’t have children like our, who slow us down to really see what life is about, who should be jealous of us!

    I really loved this post, btw, you did such a fantastic job of being raw and honest. Life is not always easy on any side but especially when you are raising a child who does need extra lovin’ and extra time. Thank you for sharing where you were at today. ❤

  4. Well said. I not only get jealous, I get angry. Not at God for giving me these challenges. Not at my son for being who he is. But at them–the ones who get to post those statuses about their children being on the Honor Roll and kicking the winning goal for their state championship team. Why do they not see me or my child? If they do see us, why don’t they care? Why don’t they take a little bit of that time and energy that they use to run from one thing to another with children who would still thrive on much less effort and take that time to teach their children compassion and empathy? Why don’t I see them at the Special Olympics events, not as participants, but as cheerers and volunteers. Why aren’t their kids mucking out the stalls at my kid’s hippotherapy site? Why all this focus on “accomplishments” and so little focus on the most important trait–character. Yeah, I’m angry and disappointed. But you know when I go ballistic–when they allow their “perfect” teenagers to snicker behind my child’s back AT CHURCH. If you think showing up at Mass is enough to save that “perfect” soul and that it isn’t your job to teach your child respect for all persons and how to treat people with dignity, then just stay home because you could sit your sorry butt on a church pew from now until the end of time and never have gathered enough karma (mixing religions is like mixing metaphors, right?) to make it to Paradise. Now, I need to work on my being mad at them, because that ain’t going to get me to heaven, either. But, really? Really? Not correcting an adolescent in a church who is making fun of a child with a disability? Really?

  5. I was just talking with my mother about this yesterday! There are some days that I want to be a normal mom. I want to take my kids to the library, the park, the swimming pool. I get so jealous of all the pictures and posts. I feel so alone most of the time that I feel as though i’ve become a hermit who can’t socialize with ‘normal’ people any longer. I just keep praying that things will get easier, that maybe one day I can be that mom who can actually DO cool things again.

  6. just randomly found this post through a weird internet click fest that involved Facebook and a friend of a friend. Thank you for this. I think most of my bad days are summed up beautifully in your words. Our daughters could be twins, and I have decided that if your little girl has to have down syndrome, big gorgeous eyes and long perfect hair is the way to do it =)good job us!

  7. Lexi
    I am so excited. I, for the first time was just able to be excited and so proud I was giddy, with telling a story to someone about something amber did. It was an astonishing feeling. I get my nails done every two weeks. The ladies there are from other countries but it is a homey community place. They hav been with me all through our Amber hardships. They saw her at her best and have lived through the change every other month or so and always asked and wanted the honest truth. Well, tammy asked about my girl this evening and I thought about it and I said you know tammy she is doing well she really is. Somehow she is connecting a little here and there. I was able to actually talk about a milestone for her.
    Ok so two stories….. dennis my husband/tanner my 17 year old son / skylar my/ 13 year old daughter.
    Amber is 12 / emotionaly 3-4 academically first grade.

    Dennis: tanner just do what the f&!*# I said. What the h&#@!
    Me: Den watch your mouth.
    Skylar: mom , give him a reminder.
    Amber: No daddy you have to get a reminder and a zero because you said the f word AND the H word.
    (She had been in the back coloring a dora book. We had no idea she was or couldd follow along. It was truly amazing.
    Then today.
    I felt I could brag by adding one more story that happened. I was floating on air the more I talked.
    Me talking to Dennis: mamakate is getting ready to lose her twins
    Amber: WHY?
    Me: because they are getting ready to go to school
    Amber: how old are they?
    Me: five
    Amber: can they walk?
    Me: yes
    (Pause)…
    Amber: (watching spongebob and eating pizza)
    That was a dumb question wasnt it!?
    Me: trying so hard not to laugh because that was so truly beautiful and funny she had actually connected again.) It’s ok we all ask dumb questionsonce in awhile.

    So, I am still jealous and don’t like people and feel I am judged all the time and that I always have to advocate for children and try to deal with handle other daycare providers that always just think kids are bad and don’t look for signs and really are the ones in this world that should be paying attention to us instead of adverting their eyes and shaking their heads. But anyway forget them I was able to for the first time “brag about Amber” and it felt GOOD.

    I

  8. Missed this when you first posted …. With tears in my eyes, I write to you now to tell you how raw & vulnerable & heartfelt this piece is. I praise you for sharing, for being so self-aware & for allowing other mothers to feel not so alone with their own similar feelings. And to also allow mothers of NT children to understand how it feels to walk in another mother’s shoes – well, those women who are deep enough & kind enough souls to do so. Thank you, Lexi. You’re a gift to so many 🙂

  9. I found this through a friend… Thank You for writing about how I know I truly feel sometimes…I love my kids regardless of disability. However there are times I am jealous of the things she can’t do, that other kids can.

  10. I’ve been a long time reader, but never a commenter. I’ve never felt qualified to comment, because as of yet I’m not a mom. I’m only an older sister to a much younger sibling diagnosed with autism, and a pediatric in home nurse to children with special needs. I wanted to comment, because I’ve read that you’ve had ppl criticize you for being jealous, and I think that’s ridiculous. I love your honesty. It’s ok to be jealous. I know as a sister I am. Yes, I love all the miracle moments, but I’m jealous of all the siblings with nt brothers and sisters as well.

  11. I just found your blog. As mother of four children without special needs and three children with special needs, I completely understand. It is hard, even painful, to watch as other children surpass our special children in development. And while I mean absolutely no disrepect, as mother of a little girl with an extra chromosome who is now in heaven, I am jealous of you.

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