January 25, 2012 by Marj Hatzell
I’m not one of those OMFSM MY LIFE IS SOOOOOO HORRIBLE!!! types of people. I’ll admit that things have been a little darker in my life lately than they have been in the past. The past few months, in fact, have been filled with challenge after challenge after challenge. I’m a bit weary but I’m hanging in there.
I do, however, want to come clean about something. Sometimes I feel like I’m not keeping it real, telling the whole truth. I don’t like painting myself as a martyr or a saint. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me and I don’t want folks to think that my children’s lives are some horrible, negative, dark thing. We have challenges. We struggle. We get frustrated. And it’s really difficult to parent these kids.
But I feel that way about parenting in general.
See, I’m no hero. I’m not a saint. I’m not doing anything special or amazing or super. I’m not Supermom. I’m not a martyr. I’m not an attention whore.
I’m just a mom.
Perhaps it’s because I don’t know any better? I don’t have a reference point. My kids have always had developmental delays. I knew there was something up when they were quite wee. I don’t have a typically developing child so this is all I know. Perhaps that makes my perspective skewed.
Look, y’all. I’m not fighting autism. I’m not fighting special needs. I’m fighting FOR my children. I’m fighting to make their lives better, to help them reach their potential. It’s an uphill battle sometimes (both ways, in the snow). It’s as challenging and frustrating as it is rewarding. It’s humbling. It’s chock full of life lessons. And BOY HOWDY does it make you appreciate the little things in life so much more.
I’m parenting here. To the best of my ability. Some days are harder than others FO SHO. But isn’t that what we’re all doing? Trying to get by? Surviving from one moment to the next? Pushing through adversity, rising to challenges, conquering one and moving on? Yes, parenting these children has changed me in ways I never dreamed.
And now the keeping it real part:
We currently have no floors in most of the house, just subfloors. Because the carpets had pee and poo and soap and bleach and food and rips and…the list goes on.
We have holes in just about every door and wall in our house.
Our screens are ripped and we can’t open our second floor windows because Bugaboo will either throw something out or climb out.
We have to keep padlocks on doors and gates to attempt to keep him from running away.
He routinely climbs on top of the garage, the cross bar of the swingset, the poles that hold the safety net onto the trampoline, six foot fences, on top of the minivan…
We bought a new fridge two years ago, had it for five minutes and it was already dented and scratched. Yes, the boys did it.
Anything we buy or replace is broken/scratched/ruined/messed up within days.
We don’t get much sleep.
We could stand to lose some weight. And they boys need to gain some.
We don’t get out much. We spend most of our time at home.
We sometimes skip vacations because it’s just easier to stay home and not deal with the “transition” thing.
I belong to a gym and rarely get to work out. But I do get to take the boys swimming there.
We spend a lot of time in waiting rooms.
I know more about genetics and diseases and syndromes and medications and medical conditions than I ever thought I would know.
Bugaboo’s new, laminate floor is already ruined. He did the ruining.
Our dishes get broken quite often.
We have handprints and food and dust everywhere.
I’m lucky to get the basic housework done, plus clean clothes AND feed my family each day. Anything additional is a bonus.
Meltdowns that include your kid biting himself and screaming like he is being murdered SUCK. Meltdowns that occur that way in public suck more.
But there’s something I want you to know. Those things up there? They are challenging. Often frustrating. Sometimes I comfort eat because of them.
Is this life hard? YOU BETCHA.
Does it sometimes make me angry and sad? YOU BETCHA.
Is my life horrible and tragic? HELL TO THE NO.
But my perspective is that life makes you feel that way anyway. There ain’t no Hardship Olympics, folks. We’re all challenged, we’ve all got stuff to deal with. Some more than others. But it’s life.
And life is what you make of it (lemons, lemonade, etc, etc.)
Me? I’m making potatoes. I bet you knew that.