Missing What I’m Missing

Hope wants to be a princess.

It sort of caught me off guard.

She recently began playing at a friend’s house with two 4-year old girls. The older girls are always creating some magical adventure, and Hope drinks them in, eagerly following them, trying to be just like them. So I should not have been surprised when my almost-2-year-old started telling me about her “castle.”

I was a tomboy as a child, only interested in kickball, collecting frogs and skateboarding. And Rhema seems completely unaware of such things – she’s been too busy learning how to sit and attend and point and imitate and learn her letters, numbers, shapes and colors. No time to explore princesses, fairies, moats and such.

So I bought Hope a tiara. Oh, the joy on her face when I put on her tiara as she stood in the mirror. Her hands flew to cover her open mouth as she squealed and exclaimed, “Princess Hope!”

Daily she dazzles and amazes me with her imagination and intelligence. She never stops talking. From the time she wakes up to when she goes to sleep, she offers a running commentary on all that she sees, hears and thinks. I spend all of my days laughing – now I know. Now I know why they say kids say the darndest things.

As I experience this new kind of motherhood with Hope, my thoughts always trail away to my Rhema, usually at her special needs school. I think of my precious firstborn, so severely affected by autism. I wish she could share a real friendship with another child. With all my heart, I want her to know the blessing of deep, rich, meaningful relationships.

How I long for her to tell me something, anything about herself. What’s your favorite color? Do you dream at night? Why do you dance in the window? The weeks, months and years of silence go by and I feel like I missed something – I didn’t get to fully experience you experiencing the world. I wish I could hear the clever things you would say. I know you, but there’s so much more I wish I knew.

When I look at my girls, I know that God has blessed me beyond measure. They are happy and healthy (relatively speaking), and they are here.

But there are days when I feel, heavy on my heart, a sense of loss.


I can’t help

missing what I’m missing.

I will not deny that.


But I will give it to God and still trust Him to do something


16 thoughts on “Missing What I’m Missing

  1. beautifully written, love .. the sense of loss is real and sometimes it hurts like hell . no way around it, gotta plow through it . and you do so with such love and respect for yourself and your wondrous daughter .. gifts indeed

  2. I can totally relate. It is night and day between my son and my daughter. She can tell me what she thinks and why. He can’t. I wish I could understand him as well as I understand her. Regardless, God does bless me through both of them – more than I could have imagined!

  3. I know what you mean. I was looking at Laurie’s box of Disney Princess dresses, wondering if I should donate them to Kayla’s school because Kayla will probably never do the whole pretend play thing, and I hate having the reminder of that sitting in a box.

    But I ended up saying what the heck, and dressing Kayla up myself.

  4. One of the hardest things about it. The wondering … the what ifs.

    I am living this with you. The only thing I can say is that it really makes the moments of clarity so much more beautiful, doesn’t it. Hold on to the good times. Hold on tight.

  5. Wrote a song about a year ago Nealls while thinking of you and my precious niece that I can barely get through singing without getting all choked up. I don’t know if the lyrics really even come close to what you must feel sometimes but I hope you know as your sister that I ache to share it with you and somehow express it if even through a fledgling songwriting talent.

    The end of the song says, ” Who I am, what I’ll be, is at the cost of used to be. Though life goes on in spite of me I don’t know how to let it go. Some days I’m good at moving on, looking far down the road beyond. And then I feel like something’s gone. I don’t know how to let it go.”

    “I will not let you go unless you bless me” ~ Genesis 32:26

  6. As my son stands next to my NT nephew who is only 8 months older, my heart cracks a little each time. My nephew will call me to say I LOVE YOU AUNT JENNY! and my son can’t! But I know he loves me since he stands on my head the first hour he gets home from school.

    I think someday all our questions will be answered!

  7. Jeneil, as I read this post, I thought of a beautiful praise and worship song; it’s called “Royalty” by Kimberly and Alberto Rivera from their “Longing” CD. I wish I knew how to attach it for you to hear! I tried to find the lyrics but couldn’t. This is their website: http://www.rainingpresence.com; I don’t know if you can hear the song there, but it is a beautiful site.

    I can see Hope singing in her tiara as Rhema dances in the window …

  8. Pingback: step by step « diary of a mom

  9. Yay Hope! How precious! A precious princess.
    I can only imagine how it must hurt and ache to see one excel and not be able to fully see what’s inside the other. I think the blessing in that is Rhema makes you look. When you are actively searching for something, anything, you find the tiniest thing and receive great joy. With a child that just flies through things, you’re used to seeing them soar through milestones and kind of expect them to do it and don’t pay as close of attention to the little. things. Parents of children who are “normal” tend to miss a lot and take for granted what truly is amazing.

  10. Yes, I know that recurrent loss that keeps coming in waves…and recedes too, like the tide. No need to deny it…I am embracing more of my own “negative” emotions through a study of Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore. Check it out…Psalm 126 might speak to your highs and lows embracing both Hope and Rhema…what God has done in the past that seemed too good to be true and what He WILL do again…somehow.

  11. Pingback: Nothing « Autism In a Word

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