In the weeds

I recently read an article where the writer was a mom of young kids and her life revolved around them. She was trying to explain and apologize to her friends because she was “in the weeds.” She was too busy caring for her little ones who required so much of her to be a good friend. She felt bad for not responding to emails or phone calls. And she reminded her friends that it won’t last forever.

My immediate thought was it will for me. The season of our son requiring everything of me isn’t going to end anytime soon.

He will need me to tie his shoes year after year.

He will need me to change his diapers or help with toileting forever.

He will require supervision always.

He won’t move out and move on.

I’m going to be in the weeds forever.

And let me tell you that the weeds can be a lonely, scary, overwhelming place to be. I know every mother has been here. You’ve been exhausted from countless sleepless nights. Or worried about an illness going around your house or community. You’ve been pulled in every direction known to man, and have no time for yourself. You go to bed too late and wake up counting the hours until bedtime. You’ve had to cancel an event that you’ve looked forward to all week because of a sick kid. Haven’t we all been there?

But for some of us the season of being waist deep in caring for our child won’t end. For parents like me, the weeds are where we live.

One thing I can say about the weeds is that although it can be extremely lonely, I know I’m not alone.

Every moment I feel grief wash over me, I know another mother is feeling the same. Every second I feel out of place or that I don’t belong, I know there’s a mom who gets it. When the day is long and I’m tired of fighting for what our son deserves I can hear another mom telling me “you got this.” When I’m feeling so isolated and exhausted that I start crying while wiping the crumbs off of my stove, I know that unfortunately there’s another mom sitting on the bathroom floor crying with me. Every dream I let go of I know another mom has done the same.  I know I’m not alone in the weeds, and oddly enough, that brings me some comfort.

Another thing about the weeds. There’s joy. And a lot of it.

I know that every moment I’m pushing our son to be stronger, there’s another mom enduring hours of appointments to achieve another goal. Every time I’m over the moon about something seemingly insignificant I know without a doubt there is another mom crying tears of joy with me. Every smile is cataloged into my memory. Every giggle is recorded in my mind. No moment is wasted or taken for granted, and I know with every fiber of my being that there are other moms who feel the exact same way. There are far too many moms who know that each and every day is truly a gift.

You may be here. You might be in the weeds too. It may be a season or a lifetime.

But just know that I’m here. You aren’t alone, I’ll be here for awhile.

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Isolation

I met a friend for coffee recently. Or maybe I should say I briefly saw a friend at a coffee shop. I tried. I tried to get out of the house and have an adult conversation, with a friend. Christopher had a different idea.

Last weekend I made plans to have coffee and enjoy a fall walk with a friend. I was looking forward to getting out and grabbing a pumpkin spice latte for a treat. I walked into the coffee shop full of smiles pushing him and strolled over to the table they were sitting at. Everything seemed to be going well…until it wasn’t. He started screaming. He started banging his head and kicking his legs. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was so I decided to quick order my coffee and try to settle him down. The woman in front of me was very indecisive and I saw the poor cashier give me apology glances over and over. I’ve learned to tune his meltdowns out but I can’t say the same for the rest of the coffee shop. All eyes were on us.

I was hot and sweating as I waited to order my coffee. He wasn’t letting up. I took his jacket off wondering if he was too hot. He continued to wail and arch his back. I showed him a couple of books only to have him throw them on the floor. After what seemed like an eternity waiting for my pick-me-up I told my girlfriend that we were going to wait outside. I left the shop and walked into a greenhouse next door as my eyes filled with tears. There I was, making the decision to find time to enjoy an outing with a friend and yet I was alone.

We walked past the mums and I had to try to hold it together. This life is a different kind of lonely. It’s isolating. It’s isolating without even trying to be. As we walked around the greenhouse, around and around,  I tried to calm him down but I knew we only had one option. We had to leave. I walked to my car and texted my girlfriend. The tears and screaming kept on. He was upset and I didn’t know how to help other than to go home. This was not the first time, and I know it won’t be the last.

I can’t imagine not wanting to be somewhere and unable to move or vocalize your want.

I can’t imagine being hot in my coat and incapable of taking it off or simply asking for help.

I can’t imagine being overstimulated with no way out.

I can’t imagine having a need go unfulfilled because I can’t speak.

Believe me when I tell you that we are working so hard on communication but it is anything but easy. It’s hard. Really really hard.

As I drove away and tears fell on my face while listening to the sobs from the back seat, I couldn’t help but feel for him. If I felt alone how did he feel? I was upset that this is our reality. His reality. He’s in there, he’s so incredibly smart, and he can’t get it out. He can’t show me or tell me…yet. I know there will be a day when all of this is behind us, at least I hope so.

So much of me feels isolated, and in those moments I can only imagine how isolated he feels.

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