This week marks the end of Sarina’s first semester at Santa Rosa Junior College! She is in her finals. Today is the last day of tests. She will do a verbal presentation of her portfolio. She spent hours and hours polishing it to make it shine. And sleepless nights worrying it might still not be good enough.

Last night she presented it to us. No, not on the fly. That’s not a quality Sarina owns. Everything takes a tremendous amount of time.

I am with her on every leg of this ride. My husband and I are both, of course, rooting for her.

She did a fantastic job! She managed college life to the dot. It’s her world. It’s genuinely her dream come true.

Having Sarina move back home was the only way she could do what she loves: to learn about the world and to use her knowledge to advocate for others.

We had to face incredible hard circumstances as a family.  I had to give up my empty nest. I had to put my dream on hold. Our family of three turned my married life upside down. Sarina is exhausting.

She is not your typical young adult. She needs support in all corners of life. I often feel like I am supporting ten people at once. All ten in the body of one person.

⭐️ a young child I need to hold space for so she is safe.
⭐️ a teenager that pushes boundaries and fights her limitations
⭐️ a bright young adult living up to her dream by going to college, deserving every inch of support I can master.

Add a good dose of:

Attention Deficit
Auditory and Visual Processing delays
Executive Function issues
Sensory Defensiveness
and the conviction that she can do it all alone

and you might get a glimpse into the struggles we have.

Not to forget the incredibly charismatic and soul aligned young women she is. She moves hearts. She offers to help every step she takes. She adds love to the world.

Almost all human emotions are showing up on a daily basis. The harder ones are when Sarina is not living up to a skill she already owns. When she has mastered her schedule for three days, but it might fall apart on the fourth. When I have started to trust, but things fall apart again. That’s when I get undone. That’s when my humanness becomes real. I have been into this for 27 years.

I bite the hook when this happens. I lose it.  I crush.

And then I stand up again and remember what I know is the only way to be and survive. I  practice:

To breathe! To not bite the hook which takes a tremendous amount of learning and self-reflection. But it is possible. My work brings this skill to my life and the world.  And then, I forgive myself. I move on and fail better next time.

On a daily basis.

It’s a full life.

But, it wouldn’t be full if I forget one more important thing to add. It’s a skill that stands for healthy parenting besides all the support and unconditional love we share.

Mothers of special needs children more so then others need to look deeply within themselves to discover what they are burning for. “Who are you besides being the mother of this child?”  is a question we must ask.

I am on that journey with you. I know how difficult it is. I see the sacrifices.  Over the 27 years, I have supported my daughter I have learned to ask again and again: “What is my mission besides raising this extraordinary child? What do I want to bring  into the world?”

I show Sarina what it means to be a mother. The bright side as well as the dark moments. And at the same time, I let her witness how I built my dream.

By doing so, she learns to understand where she ends and I begin. I show her the passion I have for my work. She knows me on the yoga mat as much as she knows me in the kitchen.  I let her be part of the calling I feel to share the tools I gather from my life with other parents who are in a similar boat.

And most of all she witnesses me get ready, not giving up while still being the wholehearted parent I am.  We just need a little more time. We will master that next step. She will have her nest while I will be the proud owner of:

MY EMPTY NEST.

Again.

We are both waiting for the very moment Sarina gets a chance to move on.  We as a family deserve this. And if you are in our boat, you do too!

Love,
Manuela
www.yogawithmanuela.com

A note about us:
If you don’t know us personally or have not met Sarina but you live with circumstances like ours, this is my way of telling you how I choose to be.  This journey of raising a child with particular challenges might take longer, is harder, is heartbreakingly challenging and often soul-crushing sad. And yet it is profoundly gratifying and 100% worth it if you celebrate the little steps and keep holding your dream in front of your eyes. You must realize your own worth apart from your child.

All things I have put on hold are still there. I am grooming and cherishing them. Also, for now, my daughter comes first.

Don’t let anyone tell you different. Don’t let anyone compare your very special job with theirs unless they are doing what you do.

I struggle. I leap. I fail. I succeed.

I can help you do the same.
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