Thursday, April 4, 2013

The rollercoaster of change

I try hard to be real with you. I try to be authentic. I’m not about giving you only the best version of myself and my kids. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I keep things fairly eclectic. I go from serious topics to recipes to humor to a myriad of other things, and I try to keep things light whenever possible. Humor is one of the best coping tools I’ve got.  

I’m going to be honest.
I’m struggling.

I work hard at many things. In order to keep my head above water and not be overwhelmed by everything going on in my life, I put on an exterior of positivity and confidence. It’s not a cocky thing. It’s not a fake façade. It serves a purpose. You know, one of those “create your reality” trains of thought. I know I won’t do any good to myself or anyone else if I wallow in all of my problems, so I don’t. It’s a deliberate choice, and I think it works for me most of the time.
But, I’m struggling. I couldn’t fall asleep tonight because I couldn’t stop thinking about things, and the emotions were too intense to allow me to sleep. So, I got back up to write this post. Since I started this blog, I have found that writing posts can be quite therapeutic. It helps me process what’s going on in my life so that it somehow feels more manageable. Writing is another one of my coping tools.

While change can be good, it feels really scary right now.
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I was at a place where I felt our family was more stable with the boys’ behaviors, their schooling, and even our finances were starting to slightly improve. None of it has been easy. However, if our past is any indication, getting comfortable usually means change is about to happen. I never seem to see it coming. You’d think I’d be used to the rollercoaster effect by now, but I’m surprised every single time we crest the hill and come screaming down into a new challenge.

Spring has typically been a hard time of year for us, so I know I shouldn’t be surprised. Spring Break in particular has been a time of regression for my boys in the past. And yes, we are smack dab in the middle of Spring Break right now. I don’t know what it is about the “spring forward” time change, the plants blooming and growing, and things happening with my boys, but there is something there.
I learned very recently that Monkey is having some issues that are affecting him much more than I previously realized. I don’t think he deliberately tried to hide anything from me, but he just has a hard time communicating what’s going on when it involves emotions. It’s easier for him to suppress things than to talk about them, because talking about it makes him very uncomfortable.

Of course, then I have immediate guilt about being too distracted from my nonprofit work to notice if there had been any silent signals from him. It’s a mother’s job to know. Was I paying enough attention?
Monkey is a very complex individual. He is layered like an onion. I continuously find there is more going on with him than meets the eye. It’s just really hard to get some of his layers to peel back so that I can gain a better understanding.

I immediately reached out for some psychological assistance to discuss my specific concerns, and was able to get in to talk with someone highly regarded for their work with autism. Monkey had his first appointment on Monday – on the first day of Spring Break. Fitting, isn’t it?
I have no idea how we are going to pay for it. I just know he needs it.

At about the same time I was figuring out the issues with Monkey, I learned that Prince Charming is struggling socially at school. Since he started talking, this has not been a huge concern for me. He has been much more social than Monkey, and I didn’t think I’d need to worry about that so much with him. Well, I was wrong.
And, with Autism Awareness Month, this is one of the busiest times of the year for me in my nonprofit work. It’s the height of event season and I’ve been at a dead run for God knows how long. I’m exhausted. That’s why I’ve been scarce here on the blog, because I’m too tired to keep my eyes open long enough to type anything coherent for you to read.

In the past week my Grandma was placed on hospice. It was not unexpected, but it’s still hard to grasp. Her brain doesn’t seem to be failing her, but her body is. I am thankful that I was able to go down and see her again last week and have her video chat with the boys on my cell phone. She thought that was a hoot. I haven't yet figured out how to prepare the boys for her eventual passing. Frankly, I don't know how I will deal with it for myself either.   
Tonight I learned that my parents will likely be moving back out of state. They only came back to Washington about 2 years ago, after having missed a good portion of the boys’ childhood. It was such a blessing to have my parents back and involved in their lives again. I have no idea what I will tell the boys to make them understand why they are moving. I think it will have a huge impact on Monkey in particular, who is already struggling to talk about things that make him sad. Having his Grandpa and Grandma move away will be hard for him to process.

And, I’m sad for me. I will miss being able to pop by their house. I’ll also miss the big surprise we got every time they showed up at our door unannounced and the kids went wild with excitement. And, I’ll miss all of the coffee dates my dad and I would squeeze in when the kids were at school. The thought of all that going away in light of everything else simmering in the background was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So, I'm struggling.
I know this stuff is small potatoes for a lot of people. I also know that there are much bigger problems in the world.

But, for tonight, I’m allowing myself to fall to pieces over all of the changes that I don’t feel ready for, so that tomorrow I can hopefully re-focus and press forward.     



Flannery said...

I really, REALLY get this. Between my son, and now my elderly mom living with us, and work, and just, EVERYTHING...yeah, it's a lot. And I don't know what the answer is because it's not like you can let anything just drop. But take care of you, as much as you can.

D.L. Elmore said...


I totally understand the rough times. Juggling so many responsibilities is hard!

It's always something in my life - someone is sick, work, blah blah blah. Sometimes it takes a great effort to just tread water.

But you can definitely get through it!

Wendy Coffman said...

I'm sorry things are so hard. I totally understand - sometimes everything just keeps pouring and pouring on. I never post about another blog on a blog, but one of the things that really helps me when I'm feeling low about everything we do endlessly is Rachel Marie Martin's Dear Mom blog letters. They make me feel like I'm not the only one, just like your blog, and refresh me to keep trying another day. Hugs to you!

Judith said...

I wish I had something brilliant to say to you. Please know that you are not alone in these crisis. Many are invisibly walking shoulder to shoulder with you. Take care of you! You are not failing! Love and hugs from the web-world. :)

Anonymous said...

I never know quite what to say when people are hurting but I do know that for me I can take the huge changes in stride like it is no big deal because they are so huge that you can kinda see the beginning the middle and the end they are obvious. It's when a million little things pile on top of each other that I fall apart. Because they never come in small doses. If 1 little thing comes they seem to have so much company that you can't focus on any one thing and just overcome that one thing. I heard a sermon one time and it gives me alot of comfort during those times. People always tell you that God won't give you more than you can handle. That is a lie. A bold face lie created by the devil himself to make us feel inferior and weak. God purposefully gives us more than we can handle so that we will learn to rely on him to pull us through. So when things get bad and with autism that happens way more than we would like I simply remember that and say OK God you have got my attention how to we get through this because I am so not enough without you.

Anonymous said...

I only found your blog today & from this first post I have read I can totally relate to the changes that come when you think you have finally got things figured out. Our Autistic son started big school this January ( I am in Australia & our school year is Jan-Dec). We have just completed our first term & his transition has been so much smoother than we thought, I am waiting for the wheels to start to fall off as it has been far too smooth!! It will happen & even though I think I am prepared I know it will happen when we least expect it. We also struggle financially as we have decided that I need to be home with our children to be able to look after them as we have limited child where we live. I too have many days where I think I won't cope but somehow we are all still functioning. I have a supportive husband who has been my rock when I fall apart.
I am sure you are doing a wonderful job as a Mum, it's not easy & especially when you have extra challenges.
I am looking forward to reading your blog & "catching" up on past posts. Here's hoping tomorrow is a good day!
Amie F

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