January 28, 2019

Washed Up

January 28, 2019

Last night I cried myself to sleep like a baby. A forty-two year old baby. I was tired and DONE.  Done with what?  My kid.  I was suffering from an unwanted case of Compassion Fatigue.  It's a thing.  It's real and it's all consuming.  Caring for kids in general is no party.  Even the healthiest of them all will try and fry your nerves. But caring for kids with special needs on top of it all is darn right vexatious (I’ve never used that word before).  It will leave you feeling washed up.
Found this beauty washed up on a beach in Costa Rica.  Pura Vida.
As if winter isn't hard enough (I HATE winter) and all of my surroundings on the farm are brown and dead as a doornail, there are kids to raise.  And it ain't easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Often times, it cuts like a knife (cue Brain Adams) and punches you in the gut. Very few caregivers will really, really painfully admit that bringing up special needs kids can leave you feeling washed up and near lifeless at the end of the day. 
January on my farm.  BAHAHAHAHA!
But really.  Not all is dead as a doornail but Diamond Horse agrees with me.  He hates winter too.
I'm 14 years in.  Sounds like a prison sentence.  And you know what? It can sure feel like one.  And I say that to be authentically truthful with you.  You can judge all you want but I am not alone.  There are other brave mommas out there that warrior the same circumstances as I do.  Some are courageous and admit it and some are still pretending.  But like David Goggins said, "Glossy surfaces often reflect more than they reveal".   Even though we are tough, brave, and resilient to a fault, we still fall to our knees and shed tears that sting our quickly aging faces.  My surface is worn, weathered and kinda ugly if I’m being honest. Oh, and my hands are covered in "crepe skin".  EW.  I didn't see that coming.  I tried for years to play the fool and reflect sheer gloss. I'd slap on that lippy, lengthening mascara and my cutest flip flops and #handle it.  But *it* didn’t go so well.  I had an actual, real deal breakdown.  Diagnosis: full blown exhaustion with a side of unbearable anxiety and a pinch of psychosis.  

Who is that person?  Who dat?
Fast forward ten years…

Not a day goes by that I don't feel s*#t on.  Have you ever been s*#t on?  If not, I can offer you that opportunity in literal fashion here on the farm.  It's like, "really bird, did you really need to drop a load (AKA:poop) as soon as your flight pattern crossed my shoulder?". Okay, enough potty talk. What I really mean is like not being able to get a win to save your life.  Beat down and s*#t on. 

Here, bird s*#t covers our patio.
Raising special needs kids morphs you into both a boxer and the punching bag.  You fight while being beaten.  And what’s so dang difficult about this is: I can’t fix it. I can’t cure it.  I can’t change it.  And despite the countless books, therapists, medications, and unsolicited advice, I can’t even make it better.  
The hustle is real.
I was sharing all of this with a friend. I basically EP’d (emotionally puked) all over her.  She listened with tender intention and mercy.  Then, when I was finished spewing my severely troubled heart, she said,

“How do you parent that?”

How do you parent that?  Right?  You’re so busy keeping your family, marriage, sanity, home and self worth together that it leaves anything but room for parenting.  This might sound crazy, but her question, her simple question, got me like white on rice.  It was almost profound.  No one ever talked to me about actually parenting special needs.  Real, innate parenting.  Parenting.  Not damage control, not coping, not surviving, not crisis management, just parenting.  So you know what I said?  With all the dark emptiness I had inside, I said, 

"I don’t know"
And then I cried (I cry a lot).  My role as a parent and my God given instinct as a mother were buried under the suffocating mounds of survival turmoil.  Once again, there I was on the salty and cold sand, washed up.
Another washed up beauty.
"Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone."
Robin Williams
This is where I am supposed to flip like a switch and go all positive on you. Positive Polly.  That was my intention when I thought about flinging this out there into cyberspace.  But Polly can’t come to the computer right now.  She’s tired, anxious and too busy caring for the sweet little boy that bursts her heart, stretches her mind, pushes her body and captures her soul.  He has a fever today so there, there it is!  Polly is parenting for her special one the way only a mother can. Fevers and colds don’t discriminate.  They infect special needs too and somewhere beyond the sticky drops of Motrin and snotty tissues I smile and picture God winking at me.  Parenting does happen. It happens in moments.

Only a parent can love a child like no other.  Love wins.

No comments :

Post a Comment