This morning I started berating myself over the state of my home. Scott’s been in Philadelphia on business all week and I wanted to surprise him today with a most immaculate and organized house. But I didn’t do a lot of things. I DIDN’T do laundry. Not one piece. Yesterday kids were commenting that their socks and underwear stocks were growing low. I DIDN’T change sheets. The bathrooms, well, they’re not awesome right now. Our spare bedroom has been used as a “catch-all” recently so that I can keep the downstairs looking neat and festive, but man – we have company soon and that room needs an overhaul. And the bonus room looks like frat party aftermath (not that I have major frat party experience). So, I lay in bed this morning thinking of all of the things that DIDN’T get done. And the above is just a partial list. Then my alter-ego (the one that occasionally rears its head and asks, “Why are you ALWAYS so hard on yourself?”) reminded me of a few things that I DID do. On Monday, I worked at my daughter’s middle school student store for two hours. I sold popsicles to 6th, 7th and 8th graders and shared the biggest smile I could with each of them as I collected their 25 cents. I’m learning many of their names and I love that Ellie sees me serving in her school. I spoke with the mom who sold Otter Pops next to me and learned that she too has a child with extreme special needs. Different than Adam’s, but extreme and hard and sad. I admire this mother for the sacrifices she must make around the clock to care for her daughter. We bonded, we shared battle stories, and we shared our fears about what would happen to our kids when we’re gone. And I made a new and incredible friend. That evening I took my 8-year-old, Crew to basketball evaluations and watched as he navigated every station. Basketball is not this kid’s strength, but I’m grateful I was there so that when evals were over I could tell him how awesome his dribbling and passing skills looked. When he responded with, “Yeah, but I didn’t make one shot,” I assured him we would work on that.
Tuesday morning I spent two hours in Crew’s classroom. This is a weekly ritual and I love getting to know these kids. I spend extra time with a sweet boy who is still learning English. He is so motivated and I love helping him. I also provide support for a child who struggles tremendously to focus. He’s in trouble a lot, which makes me sad, but when I’m there I can remind him of his strengths and encourage him to develop his writing because his imagination is off the charts! That’s as important as being a math whiz, isn’t it? Language arts is a difficult time of day for one teacher and 25 kids (you know: proper nouns, punctuation, infusing voice into your writing, using adjectives and adverbs, identifying run-on sentences, etc.) and I’m happy to lend a hand. I love observing my child in the classroom setting and I know he looks forward to Tuesdays when I’m there. That afternoon I spent two hours with Adam’s behavioral and relationship interventionist, reporting on goals, brainstorming new ones and sharing with her his progress and challenges of the last few weeks. Tuesday night I spent with Crew’s Scout troop. I was asked last year to be his den leader. This week, we practiced stunts, learned a new song, rehearsed a skit and honed in some stand-up comedy – all in prep for a campfire program we will perform for our families at the end of the month.
Wednesday, I DIDN’T take my kids to school. We DID ditch and go to Disneyland. We took our time and tried out things we hadn’t before. I also made them ride Dumbo and Teacups, They spun the cup so fast that when the ride was over, I had to sit in the teacup with my head between my knees for several minutes before I could stand. That was embarrassing. People stared. Luckily, I regained my equilibrium just before a D-land employee made it to me (probably to offer to call paramedics).
Thursday I ran around gathering supplies for a Best Buddies social at Adam’s high school. Best Buddies is an awesome club that helps kids with special needs make friends with kids who don’t have special needs, who are able to mentor and guide them. Though I admit, I’m not sure which side gains more from these tender relationships. It was our first social of the school year and the kids noshed on pizza, strawberries and cookies as they got to know one another. We finished up with a crazy dance party. I have to say the kids with autism SCHOOLED the others with the Whip Nae Nae. Thursday evening I DIDN’T cook dinner, but took the kids to Chipotle instead for a Best Buddies fundraiser. Chipotle is awesome. They’ll donate 50% of all proceeds from those who come to support your cause. So, we pigged out there and we laughed and reminisced and had a really fun evening. I DIDN’T do dishes. Afterwards, I took Ellie to rehearsals for a Christmas production she’s involved in. Generally it’s just a drop off and pick up, but last night she asked me to stay with her until the practice started. So I DID.
Also, I DID get up with Adam every night that Scott was gone. Because of the damage to his brain, his sleep cycle has been severely disturbed since is regression into autism. He’s had very few full night’s sleep since he was one. Generally Scott and I take shifts, but I was husbandless this week. But I DID get up at 5 every morning, none-the-less. Also, this: I DID take Zac on many practice drives this week as he prepares for his license. I DID nearly have a heart attack every time.
Here’s the thing about me. Even as I finish this post, I’m still thinking of the ways I lacked this week. Perhaps I should have been kinder, more patient, more spiritual, less judgmental, etc. But why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we give ourselves a little more credit and know that the work we do is good? Inside or outside of the home, mothers are doing GOOD things across the world. Sure, we can improve. I have a list of personal goals a mile long. We should always strive to be better, I know, but shouldn’t we give ourselves a break every now and then? And I hope that when I’m 85, both my kids and I will remember these good things more than they will remember a bonus room that’s always messy, or sleeping in sheets that aren’t perfectly fresh.
But enough for now, Crew has just informed me that he has NO socks (except for soccer socks) so I need put that fire out (probably by digging a dirty pair out the hamper.)