Thursday, September 8, 2011

GBE Challenge: Parents and Children

This morning, I got in the car, and I just drove.

With the kids freshly on the bus, I was early in line for all of the errands I had to do for the day. I can't say that I was feeling overly-ambitious. It was more about escaping.

It's just the second day of having both children in school for this school year, and, rather than the release of obligation, the jubilation, the overwhelming RELIEF that I thought we would feel, I think my husband and I are suffering more from a post-traumatic stress, of sorts.

I've heard that this happens in families like ours that go through intense times of crisis with their kids. I really wouldn't know for sure. All I know is that we're still on edge. We still think that the crushing responsibility awaits around every corner. And, in those anxious moments, we still think that we are the parent working harder than the other.

We are, of course, both wrong about that, but the feelings are natural.

This morning as I drove, the sky was gray and overcast. It fit my mood just fine, thank you. I enjoyed the cooling temperature that comes with the start of school and the promise of autumn. I cracked the windows of the car, breathed in the air and listened to the silence.

Four hours of errands later (can you believe that?!), I'm home, and I am sitting in my Mom Cave for the first time in a very long time amidst a quiet house. I'm not ducking relentless chaos from the boys. I'm not silently screaming for the sands of time to stop but for ONE HOUR for me to regroup and continue the day.

I'm just here. And, while I'm here, my blogging group has challenged me to write on either the topic of "Parents" or "Children".

Who, me? Are you sure you guys want to hear this from me? Lol! I would think that this topic is best written from the top, and, well, I'm in the trenches sometimes not sure if I'm winning the battle. I think most parents to special needs feel the same way. It's a day-to-day process.

I can't speak for my husband, but I can sum my parenting two ways and by two different quotations:

"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." --- John Wayne

From the first cry that didn't sound so right to the NICU to the questioning eyes of specialists before the baby even leaves the hospital--and this applies to both of my children, and, maybe it applies to children IN GENERAL--I have felt the weight of the decision making process involved in their care with every step. I was not born strong, nor a saint, nor a super human entity. I'm an average gal who wanted to be a mom, and when faced with paralysis, surgeries and lifelong disabilities or any other unknown and frightening decision that must be made, what else can a parent do but take a deep breath and saddle up in the name of that child?

Yet, my very favorite take on parenting was the following quotation that speaks of a parent looking back upon her years of parenting in the following way:

"If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging."

-- Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

These words make me cry, and I thank the author SO MUCH for them. Because, for me, they offer affirmation.

When I read these words, I am reading my own feelings, except I have the good fortune to know that I have not lost time. I have these parenting goals and I'M DOING IT!!

That's why I have a Mom Cave! That's why my husband and I will have the occasional venting session! That's why my house is an absolute disaster zone! Dear gracious sakes, I feel like running down the streets like the crazy woman that this family has made me, wearing it like a badge of honor!

Oh, we aren't perfect. I know that, while my husband and I share these parenting goals, we are also human. I'm not pretending to not breathe fire at my children fairly regularly. Ugh. I challenge any parent to a day of Special Needs Boot Camp in my house and not understand how this can be.

We are incurable parents given the task of rearing these special children in this challenging life. We're stuck but by choice. In this journey,I have my smile. My heart, and my wish for them to be happy as we take it one day at a time.

"A rose can say 'I love you',
orchids can enthrall,
but a weed bouquet in a chubby fist,
yes, that says it all."

--~Author Unknown


  1. Being an incurable parent is a wonderful choice! Again, you touch my heart and make me just want to find you and hug the daylights out of you. Your posts on motherhood and life just move me into another dimension of my own life. Thank you so much Amy for always writing from your own gigantic heart.

  2. Lovely post, I admire you so much.
    And I love the poem you quoted too.

  3. What a wonderful post! I enjoyed the poem, I enjoyed the open fear coupled with enthusiasm. Great job. Thank you for sharing.

  4. This is beautiful and full of wisdom you don't even know you have. I would much rather read a post of a parent who can admit they don't have all the answers than one who "thinks" they have it all figured out. We don't..nobody does. life pulls unexpected trials and tribulations on you time after time. if you happen to get your kids raised with out much drama, then bully for you. I THINK difficult kids are often more intelligent because they are BORED. I raised my kids by the seat of my pants, and they did fine. I'm a grandma now of 5 beautiful little boys, each one with their own quirks and personalty all their own. And I get to sit back and snicker when they buck up to their parents especially when I see my kids handling it far better than I that's natural progression of the species. lol

  5. another note my daughter is a "special needs" high school teacher, so I so understand. XOXO

  6. YOU ARE MY LEIBSTER AWARD WINNER ....But before we proceed to the awarding ceremony, let me share with you some rules that come along with this award. First, this award is meant to be given to blogs with less than 200 followers. This is a way to help them by spreading the word that such blogs as their exist. Number two, I can only award five bloggers. This breaks my heart. You all deserve to have the "Dearest Award", but I must comply to the rules. Now shall we proceed?

    1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

    2. Give the Liebster Blog Award to five bloggers and comment on their blogs, letting them know they got it.

  7. Good for you for REALLY being with your boys, for knowing that no matter how long some of the days are, the years are short.

    I knew it too, when mine were growing up. Sometimes, I was sure that I could feel the time zipping by, feel them getting older. So I played and I laughed and I hugged the daylights out of them. Every day.

    Time well spent.

  8. This is absolutely heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time. Love it.

  9. Thank you, Langley and Beth. You know, I definitely took it as a silver lining! If you two came to town, I'd be mortified for you to see my home, but at least now I know it isn't because I'm completely inept! :)

  10. Gosh, Jo, THANK YOU! It's a true compliment.

    All of you--you are so supportive. Both of our boys do have very active minds, and it is true that they become more difficult the more bored that they are. We must keep them channeled for our sanity's sake. Sometimes, I'm too tired to make that effort, but it is always more work in the end. I hope my fellow sped parents out there will do better than I about time off: MAKE A PLAN! Plans are good for us all.