If whiny, ungrateful people tend to annoy you and you don't want to feel that way about me, I recommend you don't read any further. I try not to go down the "poor me" path too often, but today I'm granting myself this little indulgence of releasing all the bitter thoughts swirling through my mind.
The NYC trip is off.
I know I was nervous and reluctant to buy my ticket, but once I did, I was excited. Really excited. The modeling-my-oh-so-perfect-new-clothes, crossing-the-days-off-my-calendar, creating-the-perfect-iPod-playlist-for-the-flight kind of excited. And now I can't go and I'm stomp-around-the-house, sigh-loudly, glare-at-happy-people disappointed. Oh, except I can't actually display that kind of disappointment because I have two kids to take care of and they don't deserve a mom who acts that way (see why I warned you about whiny & ungrateful behavior?).
Maybe another day I will write about the events leading up to this decision in detail, I'm not in the mood right now. I'll just say that as the result of some issues we are having again with Buddy, Chris & I & Buddy's therapist agree that its not a good time for me to be away for an entire weekend. Before any well-meaning people post "oh go anyway! give yourself a break!", we did consider that. The problem is doing that would almost certainly lead to intense anxiety issues with Buddy. Not only would that impact his adjustment to school (which he is handling so well and is currently our primary focus), but would also create that unbearable environment we had at the beginning of summer. A few days away is not enough of reward for me suffer through that situation for an unknown length of time. So I'm not going.
We made the decision a few days ago and at first I was okay with it. I wished the situation was different, but I knew as sucky as it was, I was making the best decision for our family. Doesn't that sound so level-headed and adult of me? Well, all that level-headedness wore off and quickly was replaced with bitter "life is so unfair" thoughts.
I hate that I have to keep giving stuff up so that Buddy doesn't spiral out of control. I know that's a selfish, awful thing to say, but its the truth. I went into parenthood with a pretty realistic view of what it would be like. I knew things were going to drastically change and no longer be all about me. Those regular challenges of parenthood - lack of sleep, dirty diapers, toys scattered throughout the house - can be annoying, but not in a way that really frustrates me. Parenting a child with emotional issues has gone way beyond that.
Of course I love both my children in a fierce, all-consuming way that means I will do absolutely whatever it takes to make sure they are happy and healthy. When you have a child with special needs, that kind of love can be exhausting. Its terrifying to me how much energy and sacrifice it takes just to keep our heads above water. I do the best I can to find balance, to have dinner with friends & date nights with Chris, to take solo trips to the grocery store & read books instead of clean the bathrooms during naptime. Still, the reality is 98% of my time is spent being a mom and I find myself feeling so resentful when a nice night with Chris ends with a child crying hysterically for 3 hours because we went out without him and when I have to postpone indefinitely a trip I was looking forward to taking.
I'm really worried about the person I'm in danger of becoming. How many more ruined date nights and canceled trips will it take until whiny and bitter is no longer an indulgant mood but a permanent lifestyle? That's not the kind of mother, wife and friend I want to be. But how do I give myself the space and the breaks I need when those very things intensify the issues we are working so hard to overcome?
I know in the world of special needs Buddy's problems are minor. I know there are parents struggling with much more severe and frightening issues. I know that Buddy has come so far over the last 3 years. I know with time and hard work he will continue to improve. It will not always be this hard. I know that. But right now it feels like too much work to put on a happy face.
*Sorry for any typos & misspellings. I hate whiny, ungrateful people so there's no way I re-reading this to proof it.