Its the Little Things

This week has been exhausting. Outside of the normal end of the year stuff; teacher gifts, parties, graduation prep, recycling, organizing, cleaning and prepping for the summer I had tried to reach out and help someone in need. I am the first to admit I LIKE to help others. I live to help others and I feel good helping others but what happens when your can't help anymore and you feel like a failure? You feel guilt. That guilt paired with the fact that our third born was struggling to find her place in the family and causing a disruption at every curve, I was exhausted. When you add in the prep for the upcoming ESY, summer programs, therapies, summer camps, VBS, Swim Lessons and the fact that you wonder how you will maintain the house, maintain a marriage and focus a little on keeping yourself sane, I was overwhelmed.

Lucky for me, I had planned a massage the Friday before school ended. I made the appointment weeks ago and literally was counting down. Monday I was exhausted but knew by Friday I had a two hour block of time for a massage that I would never have asked for and considered to be a luxury for my 15th wedding anniversary. Yesterday I sat counting the hours. I couldn't wait. I carefully orchestrated child care and then when we got both the lice letter and 5ths Disease Letter home from school I began stripping beds and could not wait to get this break from the normal life plan. I arrived my 15 minutes early as they had reminded me just the day before in my reminder call and then it happened, they let me know there was an emergency and my masseuse had to leave. I felt bad for her as it was a medical emergency for a family member but I also began to cry. Yup, cry. It was my breaking point.

For me, last night was the two hour time when I didn't have to be a mom to five kids, I was going to be in my own space, enjoying rejuvenation time to prep me for the summer months of days that seem busier than the days of school. One of the things that the doctors remind you is to take time for you, take time for your marriage and make sure while parenting your special needs child you keep yourself healthy because you cannot give more than you have. Many marriages that involved disabled kids end in divorce, I know many marriages end in divorce but the extra stress of just being a care taker 24/7 potentially for the rest of our lives is a daunting feeling as you look forward.

Instead of offering me a free massage to come again, an opportunity to get in today or an upgrade, I was told they were sorry, and they hoped I would return. Hoped I would return? No. You just added a 45 minute drive to my day. You added stress of finding a sitter and making sure my house was completely set so that I could leave. You made it so my child sat in front of a TV aimlessly for 45 minutes when I could have been playing with her, holding her or working to grow her therapy through home life. Until I explained my child had autism and getting out was difficult you (the manager) had no qualms in just telling me good bye. I will say once you understood why I was upset, you were kind. Once you understood the chance of my being able to do this in the next 4 months was non-existent you tried to help but until I explained it all, you didn't know. You thought I was a mom just falling apart over a first world problem.

Perhaps I was. Perhaps it seems silly that I cry over the massage but as I drove home and called a friend I realized I was crying over so much more. I was crying over the fact that my life as I knew it before autism has changed. I realized that right now the ability to pack up and just go isn't there. I realized that questions that I asked my typical kids may never be questions that I can ask my disabled child. I realized that everything I took for granted was no longer there.

As a mom we give. We give until we can give no more and yesterday I needed to recharge and my "recharge" ended up being a reset. A reset and understanding where I am and what part of the grief journey I am in. Some days life with autism is almost normal but others days, when little moments cause you to pause you realize just how different your life will be.

To all the special needs moms and dads, you rock. Never forget that. Never forget to take the time that you need to be who you are and who you once were for a healthy parent gets kids further in for me, I am still trying to get a refund on my $280.00 massage that they refused to give because honestly, there will be no time to head back and have that time again.


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