every little thing…is okay

Jim and I were in a new doctor’s office the other day answering an hour and a half interview about Jordan.  I’ve lost count of how many doctors we’ve had these conversations with at this point. Much less than some people I know, but more than I care to think about…six, eight? I don’t know.  We get to the part where they ask about his birth.

“Was it an exceptionally stressful time?” Is there really part of the last 15 years that wasn’t exceptionally stressful? I can’t remember.

“Was it a typical birth?” As typical as a planned C-Section is, yah.

“Was there any concerns immediately after delivery?”  Well, his initial APGAR scores were low and it took forever for him to cry, but within a couple of minutes no one was worried anymore.

Jim chimes in.  It wasn’t that long, babe. It was all less than a minute; it just seemed really long.

He and the doc share a knowing glance…

Well, here we are again. Me trying to come up with reasons that force it all to make sense.  I could see on the doctor’s face, this isn’t new to him. I’m sure moms everywhere are trying to put their finger on the WHY, even after we know there’s no way of knowing the why, or maybe the why isn’t a why but more like 50 whys. Or there’s no why at all.

But I want a why. I want to blame something. someone. even if that someone is me, that’s okay.  I get tired and I want answers, so then I can finally fix it. I’m a fixer.  It’s really the worst thing you can be when you have a kid who isn’t always typical, because…there’s just no fixing some things.  And then you feel guilty for even thinking that your perfectly amazing child would ever need fixing.  And so the cycle goes.

These past few weeks have been a little more challenging than normal.  Not with Jordan; he’s actually excelling, I think.  It’s been challenging just within our family as a whole. Finances are tight, as they are this time of year: recovering from the holidays, paying for sports fees and gear, a huge car repair bill – the usual stuff.  But the usual stuff sometimes feels more stifling when you’re a one income family.

Years ago, we made this decision. We will sacrifice financially so that I can be there for both of the kids in the needs that are unique to them.  There have been times when I’ve gone back to work when we really needed it, or when we thought the kids were ready, but then realized maybe they weren’t. I’ve owned and run successful businesses from home, but it always ends with us feeling like the kids are taking a back seat and that I need to focus on them.  It’s hard – finding that balance. It’s hard for everyone.  I think, and I’ve heard from others too, it’s even harder when your family is a little more than typical.

Studies say the average family with a special needs kid spends $17,000 more per year than other families. Co-Pays and prescriptions alone add up to more than half of that in our family (never mind deductibles that I don’t even want to think about.) Then you have therapy expenses, special purchases, and the truck loads of kinetic sand and silly putty I’m constantly searching for, and…you get it.  I’d say $17k is the understatement of the year.  Sometimes I just have to acknowledge these things to keep perspective.  Sometimes I just need to tell myself it’s okay.

It’s okay that I don’t bring in $60k+ per year like most of the women my age and with my background.  It’s not time for that.  It’s okay that sometimes money gets tight and the only explanation I have for that is that “shit gets hard sometimes and we just have to get through it.”  It’s okay to feel suffocated by all of the needs and demands and “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW RIGHT NOWs.”  It’s okay.

It’s okay to not have the answers.  It’s okay to need to cry when no one is looking for no reason other than I can’t stop the tears from falling.  It’s okay to be sitting in a therapist’s office answering intake questions about my son and suddenly realize everyone in the room knows that I’m probably the one that most needs the therapy.

This is being mom to someone that needs more than the “average” kid. Whatever that means. And we’re all okay, or at least we will be after a hot bath and a good cry.

 

 

 

 

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when tragedy hits close to home, i get weird.

Our neighborhood is colorful and interesting, and for the most part just hard working families that are trying to make it work in a hard economy.  It’s just a bunch of middle class Joe’s in the suburbs.  It’s not super nice, but it’s certainly not ghetto.  I’d say it’s the average for America right now, maybe even a little better than average from what I hear on tv.  I’m going to tell you something though, people in our world are hurting right now.  I mean, desperately in some internal pain.

I can’t even tell you the amount of people that are divorcing, in financial desperation, having affairs, being cheated on, seriously depressed, caring for seriously ill children, and the list goes on.  It makes me so thankful to have what we have I can’t even tell you.  The past week or so my world was a little rocked.

There are some neighbor kids that mine play with on occasion.  They come over to the house and spend a day, and when they’re here, I feel the tug.  Do you know this feeling, when a kid just needs some extra love and attention and just their presence tugs on your heart?  I just want to mother the crap out of them and smother them with love because I feel their need.  It’s not necessarily that they have bad parents or those who don’t love them.  Maybe they work crazy hours just to make ends meet or maybe they just have so much of an internal struggle going on they can’t give the kids all they need for right now.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes I’ve been annoyed by their neediness.  Like, “how can I mother one more child today?!  I’m all out of giving.”  It makes me sad to even type that, but I know I’ve felt it.

Last week, one of those little girls found her mom in bed covered in blood drained from her wrists.  The ambulance came and miraculously she was saved just in time.  She recovered and returned home late in the week.  My daughter heard from her daughter the details and it was just heart-wrenching.  She came home and told me about it and just hugged me long and tight.  She thanked me for being such a good mom and for not being sick.  It tore me apart.

Yesterday, as our  family set out to spend some Sunday Fun Day time together, a firetruck entered our development and turned toward that hurting mom’s street.  I asked my husband to follow it, so I could confirm what my gut was telling me.    I probably shouldn’t have since the kids were in the car, but I couldn’t help myself.  The truck stopped in front of their house, and my baby girl started crying immediately.  She knew.

We turned around and continued on, because what the heck could we do?  I tried consoling Elle, telling her it was just a fire truck and not an ambulance, so we didn’t know what was really going on yet.  And then, as we drove down the main road, two police cars and an ambulance met us.  All I could do was sob.

My heart breaks for that mom, a woman who is so broken that she can’t hold on for her children.  I understand depression; I’ve lived it more than I care to admit.  But I don’t understand it to that level.  I may not have had it in me to keep the house clean or properly take care of my kids for a few days, but I’ve never been able to entertain the idea of leaving them behind with that kind of pain forever.  I can’t even grasp what that kind of pain must feel like.

More than anything; however, my heart breaks for those girls.  It just breaks.  I can’t even imagine, and I don’t even have words.  All I can do is sit and hold my kids as tight as I can and love them.  I pray for those girls and their family.  But what do you even pray?

My kids have a half day at school today for conferences.  We have all been fighting colds and feeling crappy so I kept them home with me.  If I’m being honest, though, I just really wanted them to be here today.

I don’t know what happened yesterday for sure.  I know when we came back home about 20 minutes later, the ambulance was pulling out of our neighborhood and taking it’s sweet time.  No one knew that mom’s status when they put her in the back, and I don’t want my little girl to hear that from someone at school just yet.  And I just couldn’t say goodbye to them today.  I realize that makes me sound crazy.  I don’t really care.  Accuse me of smothering my kids too much or of being over-protective or over-bearing or whatever.  I just don’t even care.

If you’re a parent, hug your babies today and just be thankful for whatever it is your family has.  Even if it’s not much or feels broken beyond repair, it’s so much more than we even know sometimes.

a successful day…

Today was a successful day in the land of “impropers.” Well, successful for the most part.  I still have around a half ton of dirty laundry to reason with, but lately, that is of no consequence to me.  I am immune to the piles.  Unless, of course, no one can find underwear.  Then, there’s a problem.  So…I better get on that.

I woke up to two snuggly kiddos on either side of me, giggling as they tried to sneak in and steal some time on a rare morning that daddy was already gone and they woke before mommy.  After a few minutes, we thought we better get moving.  I hopped in the shower and called Jordan to get in right as I was getting out so I could wash him up.  He got in right away and there were no problems in getting ready for school.  He moved quickly and without incident.

Jordan jumped off the bus when he got home and showed me his daily report from his teacher – the third day in a row this week that he got all smiley faces for his focus and behavior during class.  He worked on homework, had a healthy snack, and then went outside to play with friends.  It’s dinner time and he just kindly asked for ten more minutes of play before he has to come in.  So I said yes.  Because he asked nicely and without a fit.

Why are some days so easy and without incident where others are ridiculously like all of us are trudging through quick sand to get the basics done, and even that is asking too much.  I swear there is not one thing that I do differently.  I know there is supposedly nothing but the “pistons in the brain firing differently” from day to day, but that just doesn’t do it for me.  I need a miracle formula that makes for days like this every day.  Do they sell those on eBay?

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.   I love days/weeks that things are so darn easy.  I just wish I knew how to replicate them.