No Apologies

I think by now, everyone who has ever known me knows that Owen’s story was shared on Minneapolis CBS news station, WCCO with this story.

I was thrilled about the exposure to Owen’s story because it’s so important that people understand that sometimes things as simple as eating are things that too many kids aren’t able to do.  Then today, I was catching up on some of the other blogs that I follow and I smiled when I saw this post from Parenting the ‘A’ Team.  It really hit home for me the significance of reporter, Rachel Slavik and WCCO featuring Owen’s story.  She/They got it!  They understood that these teeny steps, like swallowing a little puree for Thanksgiving, IS a big deal.

It took me back to when I was recently on a non-preemie blog and saw a comment from a reader that said something like, “I don’t understand why special needs parents think they need to tell us every. single. milestone!  I get it, their kid is different, but I shouldn’t have to do cartwheels for each step”  I was a little hurt by the comment – so hurt that I couldn’t find the words to respond (not a very common occurrence).

But, it did change my behavior.  I started apologizing when I’d celebrate Owen’s (and even, Kellen’s) successes.  Like in this post and, more subtly, this one too. I didn’t want to be that annoying parent, so some milestones, I didn’t even mention.

I’m frustrated with that woman, for not understanding.  But more, I’m frustrated with myself for letting her make me feel that I should change my behavior.

It doesn’t matter what need level your child is; as a parent, each milestone that a child puts hours and weeks and months into accomplishing IS worth mentioning and celebrating.  We live in a world that idolizes athletes and movie actors that are great because of the dedication that they put into their sport or craft.  Some people put just as much work into much less glamorous tasks like; eating and walking and talking.  It doesn’t matter the glitz of the prize, the work and effort and ultimately the accomplishment is what is celebrated.

Thank you, Gillette Children’s Specialty Clinics, for making it happen and Rachel and WCCO team for making a beautiful story that helped me and your viewers understand that sometimes seeming small steps are giant accomplishments worth sharing within the family and the community (even a major market).

I shared this picture already this week, but it’s too perfect, that I must share it again.

Once Tiny…Always Strong.

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

12 thoughts on “No Apologies

  1. Tatum,

    You and your family should be proud of every milestone Owen makes! We love hearing how he is doing and cheer whenever he makes new goals!


  2. Every parent should be proud of all of our children’s milestones. Special needs kids just have different ones that we celebrate. Make no apologies. And besides (for when it’s all about what other people think) there’s WAY more of us who look forward to each and every Owen/other miracle update. Even if we don’t know you.

  3. When a child practices for months to achieve a task that others simply take for granted it is worth commemorating! Owen’s progress is truly miraculous and deserves not only mentioning, but truly celebrating each and every milestone achieved. Go ahead and be THAT mama- the one that recognizes that your tiny miracle deserves praise for each and every accomplishment, the one that realizes how important each moment of loving the here and now with your babies are, the one that reminds us how important the” little” things are. We will be here reading your stories cheering Owen and Kellen on. I am so appreciative and feel honored to share in your children’s triumphs and your families’ story. Thank you!

  4. I dont even know Owen other than what I have read on your blog and we have never met but I had tears of joy and a smiling face for Owen when I watched his clip! What an accomplishment for him and a huge celebration for you as parents! Thanksgiving meal or any breakfast, lunch or supper meal means something different to the moms and dads who have been feeding their child with a tube for months or years! This is a huge accomplishment and Owen is too young to be able to remember or ever know his story and it is also our job as parents to tell them their story as they get older so they understand what they went through and how much love and support they recieved! They will learn to know they are such a miracle and a blessing!! I look forward to Mya eating her first fwe bites of food instead of through a feeding tube! I have hope in her that she will too accomplish that someday like Owen!! Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us!!

  5. I love hearing all the milestone stories about Owen and Kellen! You should never have to appologize! I will literally tell the whole damn world the day jackson takes his first step!! Loved the news story on Owen! So cool to get exposure for kids who have eating difficulties!! Hope you had a great thanksgiving.

  6. As parents of extremely premature babies, we’ve all hidden our true feelings at times. It’s sad, but true, we’re many times “the elephant in the room.” It’s so hard when even some of my dear friends think I’m possibly holding Alli back from eating…..That, “she should be eating by now, it’s just not natural that she can’t eat.” Hmmmm, well, must I really go there?? I must admit, I’ve stopped talking about it at times. People don’t get it. Even with my post from yesterday, most of the comments and likes came from Preemie Mama’s….People who TRULY understand. It’s sad really, but I’m so happy for your familiy and the exposure you all have made to eating difficulties. Hopefully next year, Alli can eat with us! Thanks for the link up!

  7. I’m 11 years ahead of you (former 1 pound 9 ounce 24-weeker) so I’ve been in your shoes. I think the most important realization I had was that everyone’s pain is their own. It’s not a competition. I teach ECFE and often have parents of typical and special needs children in the same class. We get this out of the way real fast because a mom of a typical toddler who won’t eat peas has the same right to say its driving her crazy as much as a special needs mom who child won’t eat period. We’re best when we can support both moms (sometimes dads, Grandmas etc.). I used to giggle to myself when people would say they had a preemie and then I’d learn, yep, 34 weeks or something. I’d think- That’s not a preemie, that’s a 3 month old! But to that mama, it was not what she expected and that can be world-shaking for some people. I learned to have grace for that.

    When my son was 5, he said to me, “Mom, I’m not a preemie anymore” (meaning, open up your definition of me). We still have our personal roller coasters but I wish I could give you all a hug and tell you it gets better. Today everything you experience is real, no discounting it but, while the ride never fully comes to a complete stop, you’ll be better prepared to enjoy the view!

  8. I loved seeing your family in this news story! Every accomplishment of Owen and Kellen is a celebration. For all kids, not every skill comes easy, so we should celebrate their accomplishments big or small especially when they worked long and hard to do it. I love reading your blog, because it does talk about Owen’s accomplishments,so please keep the stories and celebrations coming.

  9. isn’t it just amazing how one person can say something negative that makes one question what they say, how it is said… gah! I can so relate; I am glad that you came to the realization that you did. I love the picture you shared; your little one is adorable, and that shirt is too cute!

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