Thursday, March 10, 2011

Screw you "there"...we are "here"

I've been asked by a few friends why I am not blogging as much.  I am not sure what to say to this.  Life is busy and complicated and I guess I am still not sure how this single mom stuff works.  But it's been awhile, so for those of you who are curious on how we are doing, I will hit the high points.

1.  We are moving.  Jack and I are moving to an apt in 2 weeks and my ex will be moving back into the house. Basically the house is too big and too expensive. I am excited to decorate how I want and to live in a smaller space, but admit that I feel like I am going backwards in life. I haven't lived in an apt since college.  However they have a wonderful playground and 2 gorgeous pools, so that will be fun this summer.

2.  Exercise. I think that is keeping me sane these days.  As you all know I am a beachbody bum (www.beachbody.com) and love the P90 series.  I have decided to pursue my personal training license.  So I will be doing that this summer.  Sort of a thing to fall back on and also maybe take up part time when needed financially.  And I do yoga at night to help relax me and just because I love it. Basically each night after Jack goes down I watch Sex and the City (it's on from 7-8) and then yoga, then read and/ or clean or pack and then bed.

3.  Jack.  Well, this will be a longer paragraph.  Jack is doing great.  He is 19 months old.  And we will focus on his strengths: signing really well, making sounds here and there, trying to make sounds to copy me, says Ma occasionally and Pop Pop, Pulls to stand, and is very interested and curious in most things.  Very loveable as well and still my cuddly sweet boy.  He has been really clingy lately - and the separation anxiety is at an all time high recently.  So, that's been hard.  I had a developmental therapist come evaluate him a few weeks back and she basically told me he was right on track and that I was doing everything right.  Fabulous right?  I was so excited, I cried and was so happy.  And just like every good thing, eventually the walls come crashing down.  When I told one of my therapists what the DT said, she looked at me and said, "well, he's functioning at a 12month level - and he should be functioning at 18 months, so we need to get him there".  And just like that I was deflated.  Why did she say that?  Why did it hurt so much? And I wonder - what am I supposed to expect of Jack?  Shouldn't I be excited at each milestone? God knows they take so long to get there.  And I know I should be working with him and desiring more for him, but isn't there a point as parents where we should accept their pace and their schedule?  Happy Medium right? I mean I was really upset when she told me this.  Yes I want Jack to "act his age' but he has down syndrome. I am not using that as an excuse...more of a matter of fact. I mean he has it and with it come certain things.  He is not going to do all the things exactly when other kids do, that doesn't mean he isn't going to do them...it's just going to take him longer.  I will never set limits for Jack and I want to enjoy the successes as they come -delayed or not. Why does the world need for him to be as normal as possible? There is a fine line between accepting his diagnosis and the challenges it brings and also providing him opportunities to stretch beyond his limits.  And I am the parent - shouldn't she be encouraging me.  It was a total let down and basically since that appt I cancelled therapy for 2 weeks (no worries, they have been going to school) and decided that between moving and my deflated heart that Jack and I just needed some down time.  And for the past 2 weeks each weeknight we have come home , eaten dinner, read books, sang songs and cuddled.  LIterally.  I haven't made him do a shape sorter or color or anything related to therapy.  Quite frankly I am exhausted and I am sure he is to.  And sometimes you just need to hold one another and that's what we have done.  And he has been totally content to listen to me read and sing and dance and I am starting to feel better.  And you know what - I don't feel bad about it.  I feel liberated and just fine.  He hasn't lost any skills and we sign non stop and more than anything - I am his mom and don't have to explain myself - so there!  Take that American Pediatric Society of America!!

Why do we let others make us feel bad about our children?  I should be proud of Jack and I am.  He has a lot stacked against him and I know he will get there...and that's the other thing. I hate that statement "he will get there".  Where the hell is "there" and why is it so important that he get there.  Maybe "there" is just to make mom and dad and society happen and has nothing to do with him.  Maybe the greatest thing in life isn't getting somewhere or proving yourself, but maybe it's love.  And Jack loves. Jack loves really well. And I love him.  So I don't give a damn where there is right now, because if the world expects moms to focus on the "there" all the time...we will never live in the "here".  And here is where the love is...where the laughter is...where joy and life are.  So kiss my ass "there".  We are "here" right now, and like it. 

I hope this helps someone else on this journey who is feeling like a failure as a parent cause their child isn't "there". I assure you - you are rocking it - but I challenge you and me to live in the here and to love and accept our children now, not when they accomplish some huge goal.

That being said, I am sick of rolling a ball back and forth all the time and do look forward to different play eventually. disclaimer: I suck at play btw.  I don't like play.  I like to read, sing, dance, cuddle. Those are the things I am good at.  Rolling a car back and forth pretending to crash is not my strong point.  Pretending to have a blast pretend stirring a make believe batch of cookies is not the life for me.  But I am learning.  And I am trying.  I was amazing at pretend when I was a child according to my parents, but as an adult - not so much I guess.  And my sweet Jack would roll/throw/ pass a ball back and forth all day and he does.  And as tired as I am of it, we still do it and he laughs each time.  And then I think, "why am I tired of this??? He loves it."  And then I laugh and smile and forget that I have been rolling a ball for 45 minutes and just relax in the "here".

4.  There's a lot more I want to say, but too personal to share.  Let's just say that I am smiling more these days and for that I am thankful.


This weekend - more packing and moving - aren't you jealous?!  I'll post pics soon.  Big HUGS to all the moms out there!!!

9 comments:

  1. Well said!!!! We should all live in the here and you can still enjoy those huge milestones when they happen because you are living in the here!

    Congrats on the new apartment and good luck moving!

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  2. Sweet Brandi, I am so excited for the new things that are coming your way and just know that you are A GREAT momma and Jack knows that! There will ALWAYS be that one person to come in and try to steal that joy but don't let them take it away!
    One piece of advice I can give and truly believe in it is. Never set limits on Jack. He CAN do it all. Our timing isn't God's timing and he is capable of anything he sets his heart to. Enjoy EVERY milestone, small or big!

    Jack is simply amazing and I'm sure that he is going to impact so many more people than you and I combined! I have seen so many doors opened up since the birth of Hunter and his impact on people's lives and heart has been tremendous! I stand in awe.

    I will continue to pray for your precious family and all the new FUN things to come!!

    p.s. I know what you mean about being so busy to blog. I've been a bum with it lately also! Oh well, I'll catch up.

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  3. I don't know of you can tell but you sound stronger and more sure of yourself with every post.

    btw, I stink at play too. And I remember being the play queen as a child!

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  4. This post really had an impact on me. There are things you said in here I am always going to remember...

    "why does the world need for him to be as normal as possible"

    This statment had me crying because I am sick of trying to make Russell "normal" I want to accept him EXACTLY as he is, I want him to go at his own pace without always pushing him to go faster...Sometimes I feel thats all the therapies are about, PT, OT, to get "there". I want to play with Russell and not have a purpose, just regular play.

    And I dont want to focus on the "There" anymore either...I want to live in the "Here"

    What a fantastic post! Like I said, one I will always remember :)

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  5. I agree with steph. You sound more confident and stronger than ever. I don't know what is going on but I have a feeling you are doing better all around. Congratsonthe move sound like a good step for you two.

    Jack sounds like he is awesome too and "here" IS the best place to be b/c you can never get it back once it is gone.

    Hope you are back to blogging more often :)

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  6. I wish I had your attitude, good for you! So glad to hear you and Jack are doing well. I think we are to the point where we need a therapy break and I just need to convince myself that it's ok. I think it would do both Lucas and I some good to just have the goal of having fun and not thinking about therapy goals.

    Wonderful post!

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  7. Hey Erin,
    Loved your post. It was great on so many levels, esp everything you wrote about Jack!
    But I just wanted to chime in here and tell you that I rent apartments everyday, all day long. It's what I do.
    And I just wanted to send along a word of encouragement about that. YOU ARE NOT GOING BACKWARD!
    I speak from piles of knowledge on the topic, and people no longer rent because they can't afford a house or they're just starting out. It's not like that anymore. People from every walk of life are renting. Wealthy, not-so-wealthy, and from every demographic. There is no longer a stigma associated with renting...it offers way too many freedoms and amenities for that! I have seen more people excited about their new digs (like you!) than not. And two pools? Yeeeheee!! How perfect is that??
    Enjoy you're new HOME without guilt.

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  8. You do have a great outlook! 'Here' is a great place to be! I wish others didn't worry about what our kids are doing, but I know it is just human nature that doing things faster must equal better. We are enjoying our slower pace and I hope you are too.

    btw, I suck at pretend play too...

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  9. I am with you.... screw you "there"...
    I am not the one to obsess with therapy and whether Ethan is "there" or not..
    good for you momma! makes life a little easier.

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