I am very, very invested in Ryan’s outfits. As you know or have discerned I am overly interested in Ryan’s wardrobe. I feel very judged for this sometimes, and I’d like to explain myself.
On the surface it might seem like I am being ridiculous for filling her closet and drawers, for ironing her clothes, for coordinating her socks with her headband, for even trying to get her to wear a headband or a hair bow. You may suspect that I spend too much money, and wouldn’t our money go farther for her therapies and co-pays if I just stopped caring so very much about her appearance. You may think that I’m frivolous and a snob, that my priorities are out of whack. That I am not a proper modern feminist and that I am teaching Ryan that the only thing about her that matters is what she looks like.
You are wrong. First I have always cared about clothes. I babysat my life away from seventh grade until I could get a job (in a clothing store), and I assure you that every penny went to new clothes for me. It’s what I’m in to, it’s what I’ve always been in to, it’s just me. And I love a bargain more than most people, you will never see me more happy than when I get Ryan stuff at a consignment store or a garage sale. I also give all of Ryan’s old clothes away. I could sell them and I would make a decent buck, but I would rather pay it forward and share her adorable outfits with her younger friends or we donate them.
Today it kind of hit me, as I was explaining myself and defending her outfits to her new PT (who was not giving me a hard time, I just feel like I have to explain myself about everything)
It was when I was talking to the PT today at school drop off today, she sought me out to ask me to bring a stroller in to school for Ryan.
At school they are struggling with her endurance and walking to and from the motor room and the gym. Ryan can walk, but Ryan struggles with directions, endurance, distraction, and licking or touching everything along the way, so sometimes a stroller is a necessity. I hope that she overcomes this need and I hope that I am not strolling her around in an adult size special needs stroller for the rest of her life. But I may be, and that is our reality.
So when you see Ryan and she is adorably turned out, please know that I am barely holding on and trying to have my little girl, look a little bit like the dream of a little girl I had for so many years. My little girl has never said Mommy, Momma, or Ma and meant me. She does not come up to me and kiss me or hug me, she does not reach for uppy, and want me to hold her. These are things that I long for, that most of you may take for granted and for me they may never happen. But the outfits, yeah, I can make that happen.
Ryan being so cognitively delayed, in this instance is in my favor. She will wear whatever I put her in. She does not have a preference, she does not have an opinion. She is like a three month old. I put her arms in and out of her sleeves. I put her legs in and out of her pants. I have to stand her up, support her and pull up the pants, so yep sometimes they are really ruffley, because they make me happy, and they certainly don’t hurt her.
I am trying to bring a little bit of joy in to my heart, because sometimes I need it. I do it for me, not for you, not to make you feel like a lazy Mom. I do it for the thirty some years I’ve dreamed of having a little girl. I love my girl so much, but our reality is sometimes hard for me. Seeing your amazing children acknowledge you, run up to you after school, cling to you before school and say bye, bye is hard on me. I can’t get Ryan to hand me anything, say a word, follow a direction, and now she can’t walk to the freaking gym at school without a stroller, her legs work, but her brain struggles. So you bet your ass that she is as well dressed if not better dressed than typical children.
Fashion show, Fashion show, Fashion show at lunch
Easter Seals, Lilypalooza 2014
2013 Valentine’s Day card trial
Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, Kauai, Hawaii December 2012
Ted Baker Dress from JC Penny, with her MiMi Spring 2014
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, TX Spring 2013
Minnie Mouse Dot Dress from Grandpa Dennis, Spring 2014
Round Rock, TX 4th of July, 2013
2nd Birthday Party
Eureka, MO, August 2014