Life sure likes to put me in my place sometimes. I recently wrote about my husband and I finally being on the same page, and then about how fantastically my daughter was doing. Word got out to Life that I was clearly in too high of spirits and must be humbled, so within days I watched my husband regress in his dealings with our daughter and our daughter have three days in a row of meltdown mania.
My Mom has always said be careful when you get too happy because life tends to knock you back down in those moments, a phrase I believe she got from my grandma. My mom is a loving, positive, hopeful person, so don’t let the pessimism of that phrase fool you. It seems to hold true so often, though. It’s as if things just can’t go smoothly for too long before the bottom crashes out. I do not understand why this is the case. Possibly there are lessons to be learned, and we all learn best through hardship. Character and patience are formed not when we are content, but when we struggle and make it through to the other side, often scarred but always stronger.
I know my husband is going through a hard time himself as we neared his older brother’s birthday. His brother passed away just over 7 years ago and he still carries a heavy burden of guilt on his shoulders for things said and unsaid before his brother’s sudden passing. Even though we love our kids and want to do right by them, we are human and our own issues can overtake us at times. I will try to remember this when I feel like reproaching my husband for not trying harder. My children need love and patience and understanding, but so does my husband.
As for my darling daughter, I am not even sure what triggered this series of sun up to sun down meltdowns. I have a reserve of compassion and patience much greater than my husbands, but it too was depleted by the end of day 3 and resulted in tears for both my daughter and I. I am ok with that. I do not feel (much) guilt about losing my temper or crying in front of her from time to time. We talk about it. She learns that mom is not perfect either, and that’s ok. She learns that we should own up to our mistakes and forgive others when they own up to theirs. She has become very good at taking responsibility for her own actions as well as readily forgiving others who offer a genuine apology to her, so there are positive that come out of even the most difficult of days.
Sometimes, I need a moment to myself to stay sane, especially during summer vacation! It can hard to take time, even small moments for yourself, when you are pulled in so many directions. Just being a mom, let alone a working mom or a mom of children with extra special needs, leaves less time for yourself. Books offer me the escape my mind craves and I have used this means of escape since I was a child. I have much less guilt than I used to about reading or seeing a friend for dinner because I want to teach my daughter to care for and nurture herself when she is an adult/wife/mother. I do not want her to fall prey to the belief that a woman must be a superwoman who does all for everyone at her own expense, and the best way I know how is to show her. Plus, even if it means I am not devoting all my time to my children, a sane mama is always better than a pulling-her-hair-out mama!
Right now, most of my guilt or negative feelings center around SPD and helping my children feel better. When they have a bad day, I tend to quietly place the blame on myself. I must have missed something. I did not do enough OT. I did too much OT. I did OT at the wrong time. Rationally, I know this is not the case. I am working on letting this go and realizing that I am doing the gosh darn best I can. I wonder if others experienced this type of thinking early on in the diagnosis and treatment of their children. I just hope that as times on, this will melt away. The more I understand and accept and embrace all of us the way we are, myself included, the better we will be. Having never been a fan of roller coasters, it is difficult to embrace living on one, but I will certainly keep trying!