My mom will be posting once a week throughout February, so enjoy this post written by Karen Brocker as she writes what it is like to be the mother of a daughter with a not so normal life.
Most parents of an ill child feel the helplessness and vulnerability of not being able to make their child well. Sometimes we grab on to anything that helps us feel more in control. For me, I became super protective about germs. I began to see germs everywhere, enemies of the precarious balance of my daughter’s health. I visually scoured every public restroom for signs of cleanliness (or lack of). I have also been known, on occasion and much to my families chagrin, to force us to depart from a restaurant before ordering- due to telltale signs of poor hygiene and health standards. After experiencing panic attacks and some other fun side effects of anxiety I came back to a better balance.
I still think hand washing is important, and certainly not everyone keeps a stash of hand wipes in their car, but I have learned that Sarah has survived pretty well despite the many germs she has been exposed to. Perhaps she has become less cautious in reaction to my paranoia? I don’t really know. What I do know is that I cannot let myself think about the numerous public toilet seats she actually sits on! I offered to purchase purse size toilet seat covers and she acted MORTIFIED. So, I don’t think about it.
The truth is, I cannot protect her from every germ and danger that presents itself. I cannot make her illness go away. What I CAN do is to be there when she needs me in her Not SO Normal Life.