There was a feeling that I don’t think I ever felt before Eva was born that I have come to know now. Before Eva was born I felt twitchy, anxious, like I wasn’t doing enough with my life.
I always imagined that I would have written a novel by the time I hit 30. I thought I’d be a renowned journalist, writing for Rolling Stone and travelling the world. I felt a semi-constant disappointment in myself that I wasn’t living up to the ideals I thought seemed so achievable at 18.
I’m still not doing those things. I don’t write for Rolling Stone. I have a book in me, but it’s not on paper yet. I teach High School journalism and social studies.
But since having Eva I have experienced what a sense of accomplishment feels like. I have felt proud of myself in a way I didn’t know before. I have felt content and full in my life, as it is, with sadness and loss being part of the whole.
Special needs parents will often tell you that they can now appreciate the little things. But what they don’t tell you is that those things are no longer little anymore. Those moments, those tiny glimpses of success, aren’t tiny to us. They are huge.
We have had a magnifying glass put over our lives and what used to feel small now feels all encompassing.
We may never watch our child sprint across a beach or even hear them say I love you, but we feel our heart swell with pride and love just as much when they smile for the first time or roll over months after other babies are crawling.
I always thought those small things were like conciliation prizes to special needs parents. Something they said to make themselves feel better because they weren’t getting the bigger things in life. But they aren’t. By some strange metamorphoses we go into this process expecting the same as any other parent, and we come out expecting very little and celebrating everything.
I am almost ready to launch the next episode of the podcast. I added the music to the clip today and once I get the go ahead from Zinzele, it will go live. I took off my headphones and hit “save project” and it’s hard to explain, but I just felt so proud. I felt warm and light and so full up.
There is a huge gap in my life where Eva used to be, but I feel proud of what I have done in her name. I feel accomplished. I feel like I write for Rolling Stone right now.
It sounds cheesy, and my inner tall-poppy-fearing New Zealand voice is cringing at this blatant display of self congratulation, but I really do feel happy with what I’ve managed to do in the last year. I feel connected and part of something. I feel part of a community where each and every person is worth their weight in gold.
I also feel lucky. I feel honoured. I feel like I have met some of the most amazing people. I have had my eyes opened to the power and beauty within people, and the fragility too.
My life got picked up from where it was and spun around so many times I barely recognise where I came from almost two years ago. Apart from not having Eva in my life, I am better for all of those changes.
I always say that Eva is taking on the world. And it’s true. But Eva also let me take on the world. She gave me the strength and grit I needed and she guides every step I take on this journey.
Before Eva, I was fine, but I was unsatisfied with my life. I was always wanting more, but not knowing what I wanted more of. I was experiencing life like a whisper, always waiting for the roar, but never stepping up and opening my mouth. Now, I have purpose and passion. I have a voice and I will roar. I won’t be shutting up for anyone anytime soon.