Parenting a spectrum of girls

Posts tagged ‘friendship’

Refresh

This is not the post I planned to write tonight, but it is late, I am tired, and this needs to be written about anyway.

Today I enjoyed my girls (plus K’s best friend, but she counts as one of my girls).  I woke early (the little ones don’t know how to sleep in) and made a time consuming but delicious breakfast.  M had a rough morning & didn’t want to leave the house and A barely slept the night before but after lunch & a nap they were finally ready to head to the park/playground for a play date.  We enjoyed the outdoors, then I surprised them with ice cream.  At home they played in the sandbox and we all went for a walk.

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M & A at the playground today

Then, although I love my children dearly and although M (with her newly rediscovered separation anxiety) begged me to stay with her forever & ever, I did something I needed to do but rarely make time for.

I went out with my girlfriends.

Those of you in the special needs community, and probably most moms (since we tend to put ourselves last) have heard the Oxygen Mask Theory.  In an airplane when going over safety procedures they remind you to put your own oxygen mask on before you help other people with theirs, even your children.  This is because if you don’t get your mask on and you pass out, you can’t help anyone else at all.  I don’t know if I could put my own oxygen mask on first, but that’s kind of beside the point (or is it?). So the theory is that as moms and especially special needs moms, we need to put on the metaphorical oxygen mask and give ourselves what we need to rest, recharge & refresh or we really aren’t going to be any good for our families.  Without those moments we run & run until we are empty & have nothing left to give.

Tonight I took that time to refresh, rest & recharge.  I went out for dinner with my two best friends on the planet, who also have children with special needs.  We enjoyed some amazing food & drink (that our children would probably never touch anyway) but best of all some wonderful grownup conversation without interruptions or little ears.  It was just what I needed.  Take the time to do whatever it is that refreshes you, as often as you need to.  Thank you ladies for being my refreshment, my oxygen mask.  You are so appreciated!

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Lighthouses

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I live in Michigan, pretty close to the lake shore…so lighthouses are a pretty big deal to a lot of people.  While I don’t collect them or go out of my way to see the number of beautiful lighthouses in my state, I do feel a certain fondness and awe of them.

Lighthouses let you know where you are, and remind you where you have been and where you are going.  They keep you from running aground and just the sight of one when you are on the water (especially when it is dark and stormy) brings relief.  You don’t have to ask for a lighthouse, they are just there, right where you need them, when you need them.

Of course Christ is THE lighthouse, but I am blessed to have a number of other beams of hope and comfort in my life.  The first one I think of is A, my youngest.  She is so easy going and loving.  She plays so well with M and actually feels bad for M when she has meltdowns rather than being upset (amazing for a 2 year old!)  She is always giving me hugs and kisses and telling me she loves me SO much, I am her best friend and she wants to be like me when she grows up.  She is funny, smart and sassy but rarely disobedient.  Not only is her love so wonderful, she is also a reminder that M’s problems are not due to bad parenting.  (Note…of course I also dearly love my oldest daughter K, I don’t mention her as a lighthouse because her high level of giftedness bring about their own struggles and special needs.)

I also have my amazing friends.  Much of my life I have not had many close friends, however the past couple of years that has changed.  I think this is largely because where before I did not want to leave my girls to go out, now I am willing to do this once in a while,  the combination of working part time and having days where I really know I will be a better mom and better able to deal with things for the next week if I get away for a couple hours.  I also have met many amazing women who have great kids the same age as mine & many who have children with special needs.  It is so amazing and refreshing to talk with others who REALLY understand!  While there are so many of you I know I can’t list you all, I want to really thank:
Rachel, Kim, Ashli, Petra, Maria, Suzette and Amber.

I have also been blessed with a wonderful husband.  While our relationship is not perfect, he is there for me and maybe most importantly, he is a great dad.  I know a lot of dads have a really hard time parenting Autistic children, not getting annoyed or being too harsh with them and just dealing with all of the chaos.  But Russell has been wonderful with her.  Not only that, he was there primary caregiver for a number of weekends over the past year when I was working a lot of them.

And my church.  It is an amazing place where everyone is so kind and welcoming.  The Sunday school teachers understand M’s difficulties (she usually has a hard time transitioning as drop off) and are great and patient with her (and with me, I have a hard time leaving her when she is clingy).  We love worship at our church, and the amazing messages from our pastor and the awesome guest speakers.  No matter how exhausted I feel when we get there, I always leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  We have also been blessed with options…since I did work so many weekends, I was still able to attend service since they have them on Saturday night in addition to Sunday morning.

Thank you all for being a part of my life and sharing in our story.  Thank you for your friendship, words of encouragement, prayers and support.  Without all of you, and all of my grounding, guiding lighthouses it would be a much more difficult, lonely road…but with you I have the strength to keep treading water and pushing forward.

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