Our journey began August 21, 1996 the day my second daughter Yaleska was born in Puerto Rico. Just like parenting has no road map, mothering an intellectually disabled child came with no directions either. On that warm summer evening I was truly unaware that my life would never be “normal” again. I wouldn’t have a gauge to measure it, a compass to direct, only a God to guide me on this unexpected journey. A journey of love -for God, my daughter and myself.
Four months earlier, my doctor told me that the baby girl I was anxiously expecting had an increased risk of some undetermined disability. I didn't know how to handle the news. I was in shock, disbelief, and tried to imagine myself mothering a special child. Who could I ask? I knew noone that had a special child. What could I do? I did what I knew to do ...I prayed. I asked God for a miracle. I pleaded for her health. I cried for myself.
I also cried when she was born. Mother tears...happy tears. She was MY daughter, bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. My baby! Beautiful. Perfect. I just loved her from the moment I laid eyes on her. She was mine! Perfect or not! I was going to love her!
Two short months after being born, Yaleska's pediatrician referred me to a neurologist. Yaleska's head hadn't grown since her first visit when she was one week old. There the neurologist gave me the dreaded news...Yaleska would live with neurological issues.
I didn’t know then that I wouldn’t enjoy the certain milestones that other same aged kids would have. No buying a box of crayons for her, scoping out the tricycles to buy, or her how to write her name.
She didn't crawl or walk on time...but I just loved her!
She didn't stack blocks or color... but I just loved her!
She didn't speak or seem to comprehend what I spoke to her...but I just loved her!
Two months shy of Yaleska’s 5th birthday, my daughters and I left Puerto Rico and moved to Florida a place I had only visited for a long weekend a few months before. Leaving my home, my job, my friends and family, my church, and my support system behind I courageously came to an unfamiliar place in order for my daughter to have better medical, therapeutic, and educational services.
Yaleska is 19 years old now.
She loves to listen to her upbeat Spanish music...and I just love that!
She loves to swim like a fish... and I just love how she splashes me!
She loves to go "bye bye"... and I just love taking her to the park!
There is so much that she is able to do! She smiles and lights up the room. She laughs and makes us laugh! She gets frustrated and reminds us who is in charge! :)
Truly having an intellectually disabled daughter can be quite a journey. On this journey-this "just love journey"- we have our share of roadblocks, detours, and dead ends. We experience joys and struggles. We laugh. We cry. We question and we answer the questions. So is life…for my family, and for you, my dear friend.
So join us on our journey as we continue to just love!
I am sure you will see that our journeys, as different as they may seem, tend to converge together on the path of life needing the direction and guidance of an Almighty God.
Our journey continues…
I would just love to hear from you!