Thursday, March 14, 2013

What messes me up

I want to preface this by saying I know I have a great life. I have a wonderful and supportive husband and two beautiful children. My hiccups in thinking are only from how society has geared all of us into how life is "supposed to be." I'm not mourning for anything, not anymore, I'm just trying to state my own truth. 

You know that little meme thing that's been going around Facebook and other places for a while? It says something like "What messes us up the most in life is the picture in our minds of how it's supposed to be." This is me, I'll cop to that. I'm not saying that I don't like my life, I'm saying that sometimes my head trips me up.

Sometimes, I think, that our minds are one big Pinterest board. We pin little snippets we see from other people's lives onto our brains, thinking "man, they have it great!" We don't know what happens behind closed doors. Which couple is actually on the brink of divorce. If that "perfect" kid is secretly plotting to poison the water supply after the spelling bee. If the Stepford Wife who lives next to you is a raging bulimic/alcoholic who drives her entire household to the brink of insanity, all the while looking great and never chipping a nail.

No, we see the surface of things. I don't think that we ever really acknowledge this fully or often enough. I often poke fun at just about everything because of my own insecurities in life. I'm hoping this is "normal," whatever that means.

I'm always relieved whenever I go into someone's home and see that they, too, are "screwing up" this model of supposed perfection. Clean laundry left in baskets, toys scattered, an enormous to-do list, all of these things make me feel somehow better about how I'm "failing." Or, when out and about, I see a kid pitching a tantrum. That can make me smile because my own kids do it. Sick, huh? No, because, with me, it goes deeper.

I get how I'm really screwing up. The big stuff, not the things that separate me from other moms. My to-do list probably looks incredibly different than friends with only neurotypical kids. I'm sure that they don't have "find a friend" for their kid on there. Also pretty certain that they don't have "teach kid not to lick everything/one" on there, either. But this isn't failing, not really. It's normal for me. This is called life skills in my house.

The bigger things... well, they're very personal and not entirely relevant to this post. I  acknowledge that I have made mistakes in my life. I have hang ups from things that happened before kids. Maybe that's screwing up, but maybe, just maybe, this is a different version of "normal." I feel like our past shapes us, but should never define us. However, I need to take my own advice.

My friend Lexi Sweatpants wrote a great piece called "I'm Jealous of You" (I know this isn't the correct way to cite it, but Blogger sucks, okay?).  In it, she writes about how she's jealous of NT parents who don't have to worry about things that special needs parents do, specifically her, but it hit a cord with a lot of us.

It made me think of how I'm jealous of myself when I parent Bailey during the day, while Morgan attends school. We go to the park, do little craft projects, easily transition from one thing to the next, and, in general, have it easy. I watched him the other day on the playground, in the midst of about a dozen kids. He didn't get overwhelmed, he just played. No meltdowns, not even when we had to leave. He has it easy in a lot of ways which his brother never will and for that, I'm jealous for Morgan. I have massive guilt that I parent two totally different way with these two totally different boys.

I'm jealous that some parents never have to think twice before planning an outing, signing their kids up for sports, or even school. They don't have to consider sensory overload, bullying as an everyday problem, or "gross motor deficits." They might not to explain at a very young age to any of their children what the r-word means. They didn't slug out potty training longer than the "appropriate" time period. They certainly don't have a small fortune in Thomas the Tank Engine crap. Their kids, because of neurology, aren't regarded as lab specimens or freaks. They're just kids. I'm jealous of that. How easy it must be to go through life and not have to think things over fifty times before you leave the house. Or freak out over insurance companies and legislation regarding special needs. It's just... easy. 

But is it easy? I wouldn't know, I can only assume and I know what happens when you do that. I do love my life, I just wish it were easier sometimes, less stressful, and without so much bs for Morgan. I wish that life were easier for him, not me. I can take it, but right now, he's just a kid. I wonder, does he get jealous?

I tell myself that this is life. That this is what it is and I've accepted it. But I know in a lot of ways, I haven't. I'm probably always going to be slightly messed up when I see other moms. When I think, "she makes it look so easy," as a random woman loads her kids without problems into her car. Or, as Lexi said, watches her boy or girl at a game.

What messes me up is the continuous loop in my head of how I always imagined things should be.


  1. I have these daily moments as well. Grateful for what I do have and still pissy over that fact that it shouldn't be this hard. At times I have more patience than Deb when handling Danica's quirks and other times I really struggle not to lose my temper. There is a underlying sweetness to Deb's love for Danica (call it nurturing if you want) that I don't possess. I can turn the switch on and do better than most; however, it can't stay on all the time or I lose my sanity. We do discipline kids differently as they all have a uniqueness that requires different approaches. My son Alex is now 13 and the lack of discipline that he receives at home will ultimately catch up to him I'm afraid for the consequences down the road. He's rarely at my house and though I try to hold back I think my desire to impose respect, discipline, and a hard work ethic just pisses him off and results in him coming over less and less.
    With Danica the rules are different. I wouldn't care if she decided to dissect a frog on the table during dinner as long as she ate. Food and the fights it causes with the associated meltdowns really drain me. Once the screaming starts its over- forget about finishing the meal. She might turn into a chicken nugget and fry but she's not starving. And I do believe that ketchup is the lost food group.
    My autistic daughter is a patchwork of bruises and pump knots because she runs into everything. She goes flying down the hall and after bouncing off the side walls a couple of times finds the nearest sharp corner or solid piece of wood to stop her land speed record. She bounces up with little effect most of the time telling us I'm ok in a pitiful sing sing voice. I wait on the day for child services to show up thinking that we beat her and someone at school has said something.
    She's a daredevil and loves to climb and sit half on half off the side of the couch or the kitchen chairs. I'd love to see her energy directed into tumbling or gymnastics; yet, the reality of her standing in line, following directions, or listening to her instructors in general tells me it would not be feasible at this time.
    Most days she feels me with the greatest joy I've ever known and her smile just melts my heart and makes all the crap worth it. Unfortunately I also in my quiet times before bed tend to think about bills, therapies, insurance, school, relationships, her future without us if we were to die prematurely and just sob until I go to sleep. Heaven and Hell on Earth each and every day with no end in sight. Travis in TN

  2. YUP and YUP, I could probably sell my Thomas the Tank Engine stuff and get a bigger house!! I have to keep telling myself that "paradise has flies". I know that even the most perfect families have issues that I wouldn't want. PEACE