Method to My Madness

Wow. I am certainly not handling this day very well.

I have troubles with a family member who doesn’t seem to care about me or my family. I have a step-daughter who blatantly disregards the simple boundaries I give her on a daily basis. There are people on soap boxes every where I look (yup, I have one of my own).

So, today, my mind and my heart are at an unrest. I am praying. I am reaching out to friends. Now I am writing.

For today, I am going talk about that step-daughter of mine. The who has down syndrome, is going through puberty and doesn’t respect given boundaries.

There is a method to my madness in how I parent her. To most, I think I appear harsh, unforgiving, even mean. Not to mention controlling. In fact, I used to think I flat-out didn’t like her. It took a year of being told by one group of women that I did love her. They could hear it, they could see it; and I thought they must not be hearing my stories about Marie correctly. Over time, those words of truth permeated my heart and I found genuine love and affection for my daughter. There are times I still need reminding of this love. That reminder was at the Denver airport during a layover on our way to Texas for spring break.

We all got off the elevator. Instead of bringing up the rear like I had been doing, I moved ahead of Marie because she was too slow and I didn’t want the doors to shut on us. Well, she didn’t exactly follow. In fact, she didn’t move. The doors shut. And she was gone. Mr. Sexy began to impatiently press the buttons to bring the correct elevator back to us. When those doors finally opened, it was full of people. But no Marie. That’s when things got a little bit more real. An older couple said they saw her get off upstairs. For about 10 minutes Mr. Sexy frantically ran around looking for her while I stayed still, hoping she would appear behind the elevator doors. 

For that brief period of time, the idea of her being taken out of my life became a reality. 

You see, sometimes it feels like it would be easier if Marie were not in the picture. The key word here is “feel.” And feelings LIE. 

I waited, helplessly, with our other two kids. My hands were unsteady, my body was hot from fear, my mind was spinning with all the impossibilities. 

Mr. Sexy did finally find Marie downstairs, standing by the elevator. As I watched them approach I kept up the facade of hardness that most people see in my interactions with her. But inside I was on my knees, breaking down. 

For a moment, Marie was out of my life. And in that moment I knew that was not what I wanted. I don’t want my family without Marie in it – as difficult as being her mom can be. I’m thankful that it only took Marie missing the elevator for me to see the lies I was feeling. 

I generally know where Marie is and what she is doing at all times. She has a long history of eating what she shouldn’t and generally behaving how she shouldn’t. “Sounds like every other kid,” you are probably thinking. That’s true, it is. But for the most part, your kid probably doesn’t continue to desire to eat dog food much past the toddler stage. Marie is 13 and I don’t let her go near any kind of animal food. That is just one example out of many. So, there is a reason I do what I do. And it works. It won’t work forever. But for right now, we’re doing all right.

Like I mentioned at the top of the post, this is not the greatest day for me. So today I am hanging on to that truth of love. Today went like yesterday and the day before that. Same issues. Just a new date on the calendar. I am imperfectly coping. I am imperfectly loving. I am imperfectly parenting.

However, I am perfectly trying.


7 thoughts on “Method to My Madness

  1. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to parent a child with Down’s Syndrome. We studied it when I was in nursing school and I know that there are many different levels and that all kids are different. Just like with ALL kids. I think it might be even harder because she is your step-daughter. One of the reasons I married Richard is because he had never had any kids of his own. I could never have been a step-parent. I don’t really like kids as a general rule and liking other people’s kids would have been really hard. Especially if their parents and me had different parenting styles. It was hard enough for me to let Richard parent my boys. However the situation you described here sounds scary. For both you and for Marie. I am glad that you all were reunited quickly. There are so many other outcomes that could have happened in a busy airport. You are doing the best job that you can do!!


  2. Love this. 🙂

    I know what you mean about being controlling. Right now Abi can’t handle having a choice at all about what she does. She has proven over and over how much she really can’t handle it. So, for now we’ll do life in a way that she can handle. And like yours, we are having a fragile success.


  3. I am sorry that you are having a difficult day. I can hear the love you have for Marie in your words. It’s not always fun and definitely not easy to parent a child with special needs. I hope your day improves!


  4. Life…. God? has a way of showing us the true desire of our hearts. beyond that, I don’t know what else to say that can help since I can’t possibly understand the daily difficulties and stresses of your situation… just know you’ve been heard and prayers and hugs sent! 🙂


  5. I do not have a child with down syndrome or any obvious, soul wrenching-day-to-day struggles as you do and I can only imagine how tough it has been on all of you! I am grateful that God showed you something beautiful in what could have been a potentially horrifying situation at the airport. I will continue to pray for strength, perseverance, patience and most of all rest for your family, but especially you.


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