Jeff is home now. He’s been away working for the better part of the month which means that I’ve lost my mind.
My house has become a facility where I am sole caretaker, janitor, punching bag, and warden. It doesn’t feel Christmas-y. It feels manic.
Anyway, Dutch is back. Things are looking up.
A few things crystallized for me while he was away and I was a one-woman cattle driver. I’ll share them with you and you’re so very very welcome.
- Do not post on social media that things are getting easier because this is when the universe perks up and decides that things should actually not get easier, but should definitely stay difficult. I don’t know why this is a hard one for me to learn.
- Do not buy ingredients for lasagne and other real dinners when the hubs is away. You will look at those ingredients every time it’s time to cobble together a meal for the people, and you will wish you had bought more frozen pizza.
- Accept that you will drink your weight in Cherry Coke each day because a) husband is gone and b) you don’t drink whiskey.
- Bless Jeff for being on poo duty most mornings while you do breakfast/meds/packing lunches/hair combing/talking Charlie down off figurative ledges/keeping Jack from running outside and wheeling the chock-full garbage can down the street/etc. Because when Jeff doesn’t do poo duty, you will do it, after doing all those other things.
- Realize that you are moving farther away from regular life into the hinterlands of special-needs parenting. It’s not getting more normal. It’s getting stranger all the time as the children get bigger but their deficits remain the same. This is another one of those lessons that just isn’t sticking for me yet. I think it’s because I want to evolve into a place of pseudo-normalcy, but the chasm between “regular family” and “family with mentally disabled people” is wide and deep….
- …which isn’t to say that it’s entirely awful all of the time. Sometimes it feels special and entirely blessed. But I can’t access that feeling all the time, hence, the Cherry Coke, and the fact that I took myself to a movie, alone, last week when I felt my marbles go missing. Self-care for the caregiver, is the official term for this. I call it putting the oxygen mask on myself before I put them on the sick, screaming, belligerent children.
- Avoid getting sick while husband is away, and forbid the children from getting sick. Not that saying it out loud will help. But try anyway, for the sake of your mind.