Thursday, July 9, 2009
My Armor is Stuck to My Body
I had a long chat with a good friend that I hadn't spoken to in a while. As I updated her on my life, I realized that I've been having a tough time trying to phase out of a battle-station mode. I think it's because I am always advocating for my children and anxiously seeking new ways to help them. Unfortunately, the advocacy can be quite tough sometimes but I've been given a little bit of a break in various ways this summer.
I certainly need more breaks but I don't know how to use them. Hartley, a special mom with a special needs child, recently made a comment on a previous blog post saying that we go through such a long grieving process . I think she's right. I have yet to find normalcy in my somewhat abnormal situation. For example, when Logan's preschool sent an invitation to his graduation ceremony, I RSVP'd for only me, not even bothering to tell my husband. He had taken so many vacation days off for doctor's and other special needs-related appointments that I didn't think he should go if he wasn't "needed." How crazy am I? Who thinks like this?
Luckily, Kai figured out somehow that there was a ceremony, and then it finally occurred to me that it would be a good idea if he goes. "Logan would be so happy," I said. My husband didn't need any prodding from me. He asked for a vacation day from his office as soon as he found out. However, my mind was still in this strangely insensitive mode. I decided not to bring Spencer to the graduation because I knew Spencer wouldn't sit for it and I wanted to keep the day special for Logan. Thus, I had my usual babysitter (my dad) watch Spencer that morning. When my father found out where I was going, he looked hurt and surprised that I didn't invite him. (Can someone please kick me?) We made it up to him by inviting him and Spencer along to a graduation lunch at a local diner even though it meant breaking routine for Spencer. I cling to my routines.
I should say in my defense before you click out of this blog in disgust, I have a couple of family feuds that have been going on over a decade so "normal" family gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas....) haven't been on my schedule for a long time. Nevertheless, I need to come back down to earth. I keep talking about how Logan went to five different preschools. You would think that I would have a huge party because he graduated (and wasn't kicked out) from a great school but since the event didn't need my skills in advocacy and research, I didn't think much about it.
Given this scenario, you can see that when life gives me a break, I don't have a clue how to spend my time in a way that will not directly result in a possible "victory" for my kids. For example, I started respite services this week where a person comes to my house for a couple of hours so that I can get some relief. This service is totally free and they come when Spencer has therapy and Logan is in school so I don't have to have big trust and competency issues resolved. The respite service will only last a couple of months but what is the first thing I do, on the first day I get these services? Well to start, I didn't even plan what I was going to do because I forgot the respite worker was coming. Then when she comes, I call up Old Navy to see what time they will be open so I can run some errands. ERRANDS? This is what I wanted to do during "me time." Luckily, they weren't open that early so I dragged myself to the gym which was my original intention for getting respite anyway.
Despite my failings, I don't believe I am hopeless. I am trying to do better everyday at relaxing and trying to enjoy my new life as a special needs stay-at-home mom. Lately, I have done very little work after the kids go to sleep which is a huge difference from just a month ago when I would stay up until 1 or 2 PM doing whatever I thought that was "important." I am still staying up a little late but it's only to watch the previous episodes of Dexter, my latest drama obsession. Korean dramas are so much more addictive so I had to stop myself because I would go to bed really late after struggling to peel myself away from my computer.
While I was working out today (thanks to my respite worker), I thought of what soldiers must do when they are not in battle. I wonder if they thank heavens that they get a break or if they are anxious and agitated because they find it easier to stay constantly fighting and watching out for the backs. (I can certainly relate to the latter!)
I am not sure but I think one thing is clear. I don't want to be the anxious and agitated soldier that wastes his well-deserved break from battle. I don't know how it works and I don't have recent recollection of when it last worked for me but I do believe that treating myself well will eventually make me a better mother, wife, and person. It's very hard to do but I am going to promise myself to make the best of it. Who knows when I'll have time like this again?
Picture: Logan at his school on graduation day. I have to remember to stop and enjoy the things I'm fighting for.