August 13, 2009 by Marj Hatzell
You know, when I signed up for this parenting gig, no one ever told me to read the fine print. They certainly didn’t say anything about NINE YEARS WITHOUT A VACATION or NINE YEARS WITHOUT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. No sir. Because if I read that? I might have thought about it for a while. And then signed anyway.
It’s really starting to wear me down. I feel defeated. I am sad and moping around the house. I get angry with people for silly things and I’ve gotten somewhat forgetful. I am unorganized and I am in the middle of about fifteen things constantly and never finish any of them. I really despise this. I don’t like the way I look, I have bags under my eyes and I barely have enough energy to walk the dog twice a day, let alone get any form of decent exercise. This is all really taking its toll on me, y’all.
My normally cheery disposition has been replaced with a miserable, tired hag who curses like a drunken sailor. This is different from my normal persona, the perky, energetic, tired hag who curses like a drunken sailor. I’m still too stoopid to say ‘no’ to people and I still want to help folks out as much as I can. That’s just me. The thing is, I just don’t have the energy to do it. I want to volunteer and be there for my friends and be involved and I can barely put coherent sentences together. Not like I could put coherent sentences together when I did get a decent amount of sleep, but let’s just pretend I did and now you don’t understand a word I say and want the old DG back. Just for the sake of argument.
The thing is, I stay home for a living. I desperately want to stop staying home and get at least a part-time gig. But I cannot. It is not physically possible. If I work outside the home, I cannot sleep during the day to make up for when Bugaboo does not. It I work outside the home, I would have to find him child care for those weird breaks. I am not going to let my husband waste his hard-earned vacation time on those breaks and then never go on vacation. And if I get a job I cannot very well go in there once a month and ask for a week off. Also? There ain’t no way in heck Bugaboo is going to make it in any sort of daycare situation, y’all. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am quite grateful that I can stay home and my husband makes a decent living and we can afford it. Sorta. We cannot really afford it, but we make it work. We don’t live paycheck-to-paycheck, but some months the credit card bills are higher than others. I shop at second hand stores almost exclusively for the kids’ clothes (and mine). I dog sit, baby sit and do whatever I have to in order to earn money for extras like soccer and music. And I feel like a whiny beeyotch for even mentioning this.
But I am going insane.
My brain is turning to mush. I have conversations with children all day. I rarely talk to adults. I’m sleep deprived and can’t get my housework done during the day. I can’t get into a regular exercise program and have gained twenty-five pounds (and counting! WOO!) as a result. I just don’t feel like me. Or maybe I feel like me but the alternate universe me. The one who never gets what she strives for, never sleeps, never gets to read a freaking book for pleasure, never goes out with her friends, never sleeps in the same bed as her husband (Which is getting sooooo oooooolddddd) and never, ever gets to sit for five minutes and just do absosmurfly nothing (OK, I exaggerate ever so slightly, but I think you catch my drift).
Nothing is going to make this situation better. It is what it is. Sounds cliche, but it is true. Bugaboo is autistic. Bugaboo has autism. Autism is our family. And with that comes sleepless nights, doctor’s visits, therapy, a life turned upside down. It ain’t going away, so the sooner I learn to live with it the better, right? Right. Except I don’t want to live with it. I’m sick of living with it. LET SOMEONE ELSE LIVE WITH IT FOR A WHILE. I need a break. A long one. Not just a weekend a year. I just want to be done. Except it never will be.
I want to parent my child without experts lending their opinions. I want to sleep once in a while. I want to clean my house and have it stay that way for a few minutes. I want to get new furniture or floors and have them look nice occasionally. I want to end the stream of strangers coming in and out of my house. I want to go on a family vacation without having to contact all of the local authorities to warn them in case my kid escapes. I want to be able to go to the bathroom without my kid running away. Nekkid. I want to be able to hug him and kiss him without being pushes away (or bitten). I want to hear his voice.
I know I’m super-emotional for a few reasons:
A) Bugaboo is finished early intervention today. His teacher of three years is amazing and I can’t stand the fact that we are moving on away from her. She has been such a good support system for us and has done amazing things for Bugaboo. And she promised me on the first day, the day my baby entered her room, that he would be communicating and using the toilet by the time he left her class. And sobbed when she told me this. And here I am crying now because, guess what? He’s communicating. And he’s using the toilet.
2) He’s technically a first-grader now. My petite, skinny, hyper, autistic boy. My friends, who have boys the same age, the ones Bugaboo grew up with? All going to first grade. All buying new backpacks. All playing town soccer and on the swim team and taking Spanish after school and going to reading club. Bugaboo? HECK, I’LL TAKE KOREAN SO LONG AS HE TALKS. This is always going to be difficult for me to accept. I know I shoudn’t compare him, but how can I not? It just hurts.
D) Bugaboo is moving on to a new school with new kids and new teachers and new administration and a new way of doing things. This is going to be difficult for ALL OF US. It will be a tough transition for him. It will be a tough transition for us. I know it will work out for the best and I very much wanted him to be in this school but it still makes me anxious and apprehensive because I keep thinking they are going to call me after two days and say, “Um. Yeah. We made a mistake, we don’t want him.”