Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A letter to moms like me

"In case of emergency call..."

I get stumped by that question every time I see it. I always put my husband and his information down and I'm sad to say that I don't have a back up. 

I don't have anyone to talk to about how hard it is to be me, never mind how hard it is to be a mom, like me. I struggle with my own illnesses and disabilities, while raising 2 beautiful little girls, the youngest, also living with disabilities. 

I don't know what I'm doing, I've never been trained, and I'm scared every single day that I'm screwing it up. What I do, directly affects my children. The type of people that they will become rests in my hands, and that is a lot for one person to handle. 

I don't have anyone to come over my house and relieve me for a day, I don't even have anyone who could do it for an hour. My kids are with me 24/7 and I'm not exaggerating. 

My husband works hard, very hard to provide for us, and that means working 6 sometimes 7 days a week. Kinda funny, huh? He's my "in case of emergency call" person. I'm pretty sure I'm his too. It's also kinda scary because that's a lot to put on just one person. But, when that's all you got, that is literally all you got. 

There are no "hey let's take your kids for the night" moments, and there are no "why don't I watch the kids for you so that you guys can go out to eat."

There are appointments for me that I make and hope I can go to, and then feel so very badly when I have to call and reschedule, for like the fourth time. I sometines feel like the next time I have to reschedule that I'm going to be scolded by the receptionist or have them answer back saying "and what's your excuse this  time?"

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and then the addition of raising a child with special needs, well it's pretty stressful. it's nice to have support and family to help you out when you are in need of help or to just be there when you need to talk. It's nice to know that you're not alone and that your support system has your back. And if you have that, that's great and I'm happy for you. 

But, I'm gonna let you in on my deep dark secret that eats at me, I try not to let it, but I just can't help it. 

I'm kinda jealous! 

We have respite, but it's no where near enough, does anyone really ever get enough respite? 

We are extremely limited on who we can have care for both our children, we need to make sure that each child's needs are met and we have to have someone who is available, that's the hardest part. 

I really have to tip my hat to single mothers, military families, and families like ours with limited support and resources. This is not an easy job, and no one knows more than I do how hard you work. You give me strength and you show me that if you can do it, I can too! 

 I applaud you, I salute you, and I thank you. You're my back up "in case of emergency."

Just thought you should know! 

Hold on, don't be so quick to judge

It's hard not to notice when a child is screaming and crying in a store. 

I'll admit it, before I had kids I would see or hear that in a store and cringe. Many thoughts went through my mind...

"Why do they have him out so late?"

"Why can't she quiet her down?"

"Looks like somebody is tired, he obviously needs a nap."

"It's obvious they indulge her too much."

I was totally that person! 

I don't believe in Karma or what goes around comes around, I believe in lessons, life lessons, and I've learned and been taught many of them. 

I'm that Mom now, the one that a younger version or an older childless version of me is silently judging
or quietly and sometimes not so quietly talking about in the grocery store. 

My child is the one screaming and crying and yes sometimes kicking, hitting, and thrashing. 

 I know I'm being silently judged, I feel your eyes on me, and on my child and I have all kinds of feelings and thoughts at that time, in that moment.

First, I'm thinking, make sure you catch her if she throws herself to the floor or the parking lot, be ready to chase her if she bolts off, and if she bolts off, make sure you grab her older sister and keep her safe too. 

Second, I'm thinking, where is the closest exit and where is a good place to leave this shopping cart, if it comes down to that, oh and don't forget to have the car keys ready, in case you have to carry your 35 pound toddler out the door...you need to be ready, and make sure you have a tight grip on her slightly older sister...safety first! 

Third, I'm thinking of the map I made in my head of the parking lot and how to get both of my children safely into my vehicle, while carrying my visibly, physically, emotionally upset autistic 3 year old who at that time, in that moment is stronger than me, while holding onto the hand of her 4 year old sister, trying to get us safely to the vehicle. 

Lastly, I'm thinking, how am I going to get groceries now? 

So, no I'm not thinking about you and what you are saying about me, my child, and my parenting skills.

I'm thinking about how to keep my children safe and still be able to do what it is we need to do. 

I'm also thinking how very uneducated I was way back then about disabilities and what other people are living with and  how wrong it is to pass judgement. 

One of the most important life lessons learned! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Life Advocating For Others

"Let freedom ring"
These were the words used by Dr. Martin Luther King.
He cared enough to give his best, 
never tolerating violent protest. 
He did not support the idea of silence,
and he did not agree with the method of violence. 

"Let freedom ring"
These were the words quoted by King.
He preached about love for every single one of us, 
No more should anyone sit in the back of a bus. 
Peace and equality were always front and center of his mind, 
advocating for everyone to be considered  part of mankind. 

"Let freedom ring"
These were the words often spoken by King.
He believed in equality and treating one another like sisters and brothers, 
and with this belief he dedicated his life to serving all others.
He did what was fair and always what was good, 
he gave to those in need, all that he could.

"Let freedom ring"
These were the words echoed by King.
He did not believe in the words "separate" or "segregate,"
he preached about love for all and how not to hate.
For him it did not matter the color of one's face, 
in his eyes, we were all equal and of the same race. 

"Let freedom ring"
These were the words announced by King.
We've heard his speech and about his dream, 
righteousness and determination were part of his theme.
He longed and hoped for a better future for his children and his wife, 
in doing so he sacrificed his own precious life. 

"Let freedom ring"
These were the words heard by King.
He has been honored and quoted long after his death,
leaving me wondering what was said in his last breath.
I know what I would have said if I were Dr Martin Luther King, 
"Let freedom ring!"

"It is NOT a race issue, it is NOT a gender issue, it is NOT a status issue, it is NOT an abled or a disabled issue...it IS a human rights issue!" - Melissa Cote