Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The "safe zone"

Olivia is faced with many situations where she doesn't quite fit in.  She is unaware of certain things happening around her, but it pains me as he mother when I see it transpiring.  When I see other children looking at her with a strange look or running away from her because she is not like them, it hurts me.  Literally, my heart aches for her.  She sees these children running away as a game they are playing with her.  It is in these moments that I am glad she doesn't understand. 

I'm not sure how her peers respond to her at school, but I have high hopes that she is being accepted by them.  We all want our children to make long lasting friendships.  It's an important part of growing up to have a friend to share secrets with or to talk to about the cute boy in school.  A friend that will play pretend games, hide and seek, and tag.  How to interact with others and find common bonds are crucial to emotional and psychological development.  I pray that my sweet Olivia will one day experience all of these things because I realize they are essential to growing up and being a kid.  

I am relaxed when Olivia is in a safe  zone.  What is the "safe zone"?  A place where she can be herself without judgment.  For example, when she is around family and friends that know her and understand her limitations,  I see how free and energetic she becomes...so full of life.  It is safe for her to play and be herself.  Seeing kids run to her (instead of away from her) with open arms and yell her name when they see her coming because they are excited to see her, is so pleasing.  I admit that this is not only Olivia's safe zone, but mommy's safe zone.  It's safe for me to sit back, relax and enjoy these moments.  It's a time when I do not worry about the presumptions of other kids or adults.  This is where I wish we could be at all times. 

Olivia deserves the opportunity to be in this safe environment and not be segregated out, but I know that is not possible to control.  I think back to when she was a baby.  I knew that she was in a safe, nonjudgmental zone.  And even then, I realized that it might be only a matter of time before this would not be the case.   I made a conscience decision to enjoy this time.  Would she sit up, walk, or talk?  At the time, I didn't know the answers to these pressing questions.  What I did know was that as an infant, she wasn't supposed to.  She wasn't supposed to reach these developmental milestones yet and I found comfort in that time period.  For a short moment in time she was just like all the other babies.  I knew at some point as time passed by that it might not continue to be safe.  At any time, she might lag behind and I would have to come face to face with those demons that lurked right around the corner.  

This world is not safe for anyone.  Diseases, accidents, wars, devastation or destruction can find any one of us.  We can't hide.  What do we do?  Stand up, look it in the eye and say, "Bring it on".   We use the love and support of God, family and friends as our battle gear.  So, in the game of life, I am realistic enough to know that she will be out more than she will be safe.  But, it's better to play the game as best you can, than to never have played at all.

...our adventure continues
Olivia's unsafe mom

*Picture: Olivia is pictured with Zoe, her 'best friend' the past 3 years in preschool.  Olivia and Zoe were inseparable but now attend different schools.  I am sure that Olivia misses her dear friend, I know I do.