Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Breathing Optional

I want to breathe. Really. I do. A few autism moms have banded together to  name 2012 as The Year of the Oxygen Mask. They even have a Facebook page, The Oxygen Mask Project, so you KNOW that it’s official!  It’s a year to take time and remember to BREATHE. It’s a year that Moms need to learn and remember take care of themselves. To renew. To refresh and rejuvenate. (Now if only those body wash commercials would hold true,we’d be half-way there! Easy-peezy!)

However, for me, I don’t think an oxygen mask is going to cut it. A ventilator might be more appropriate. (Please no backlash on this analogy.) But really, a lot of days it’s not that I don’t want to breathe…I am just too exhausted to want to do it myself. At this point, remembering to breathe is just ONE. MORE. THING. to add to my To-Do list that ain’t gonna get anywhere near being scratched off anyway. Know what I’m sayin’?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I think these “Oxygen Mask Moms” truly ROCK! I practically stalk follow their blogs and their Facebook pages. (See my list of my favorite autism blogs on the right hand side of this page).  Their stories move me and speak to my soul. They are  downright inspiring! I am in awe of their talent, their endless energy and their general “autism-mom spectacular-ness” to say the least! I believe in what they are saying and know how important it is for us moms, especially those of us with special needs kiddos, to take care of ourselves. I also know that a lot of us just don’t. Me included.

[Ed. NOTE: This is the space where I deleted FIVE  paragraphs of whining, complaining and a big dose of self-pity because really, deep down I KNOW what I should be doing and I do know and appreciate just how damn good I’ve got it! ~You’re welcome.]

My kids and my husband are my heart and soul.  My family and close friends are amazingly supportive! My husband is, well…let’s just say most days he approaches “saint” status. Srsly. I could NOT ask for more or better when it comes to support! Yet, why do I feel so suffocated and lost and floundering most days?  How do I find the strength and energy TO BREATHE so maybe I have a chance to find ME ?

I don’t know. But do I know I have to try.

This past fall, two of my friends, Donna and Kara, and I had been kicking around the idea of a “girls weekend”. To go somewhere to hang out and relax and just “be”. Despite issues with coordinating schedules, personal finances (or lack there of) and timing, we held on to the idea hoping “someday” we would work it out and it would happen.

My husband, being the man-of-action that he is (thank you ADHD), got tired of hearing me “talk the talk” and forced me to “walk”. He offered a staycation. He and the kids would go up to his parents for a weekend so I could have the house entirely to myself to do whatever I wanted. (See? “Saint” status.)

Hmmmm….would this work?  I was a bit surprised that my girlfriends were as enthusiastic as they were. I mean, my house is very small and certainly NOT fancy, or spa-like, or any place I would ever think of as a retreat. But thankfully they bought into the idea right away. During the holidays it was Kara who practically forced me to open my calendar and set a date in Sharpie. (Okay, not really but close.)

So, the date was set.  As I thought about what I really wanted to get out of the weekend, I realized that Donna and Kara are my ventilators! I don’t even notice many times that I AM breathing when I ‘m with them. They allow me to be just me. I’m comfortable. Relaxed. Inspired! All of the anxiety and aches and pains and exhaustion (see Ed. Note above) fall to the wayside with them.  So really, it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we just ARE.

I thought about a few more mom-friends that I knew could use a break and that I knew were also my oxygen masks. (Thank you Tracy, Trish, Jen, Angie and Shawn!) I sent Evites as a “key” to Rabinowitz Manor for the weekend:

*****

Message from Host

Okay, so it’s more like a “small cottage” rather than a manor but you get the idea…

It’s a MOMS-ONLY weekend! No husbands, No kids!

Come for a few hours or the whole weekend~how ever long you can manage to get away!

Meals to be determined by when we are hungry and what we want to order out. I will have some “basics” and snacks but otherwise I am keeping my cooking to a minimum. If YOU on the other hand, want to cook, then please feel free!  😉

What to bring:
*Beverage(s) of your choice. (I will have soda and some beer and wine)
*A craft, a book, and/or movie. (We have 3 DVD players and Netflix).
*If you plan to stay over night, beds and couches are first come, first served. Feel free to bring your own pillow and blanket though I do have extras. I also have plenty of towels but you may want to bring your own toiletries.  
*Whatever you want/need to have a comfortable, laze-around time!

This is an easy-breezy, über casual, free-skate weekend!

Please RSVP just so I kind of have an idea of who is coming and when. ~I promise not to hold you to it if you need to change things up!

*****

So, it is THIS coming weekend that I plan to craft and eat and drink and just BE. Breathing will be optional.

~A ginormous THANK YOU to my ventilators, Donna and Kara! I cannot express just how much you girls mean to me! And to my husband, Grant,  I love and thank you from the bottom of my soul for everything that you do, ALWAYS! ❤ ❤ ❤ ~

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Comments on: "Breathing Optional" (8)

  1. Oh Karen, right back at ya! Most people thank match.com for finding important people in their lives. I thank TouchPointAutism.org for mine. I’m so looking forward to spending the weekend drinking breathing with you!

  2. This is a FABULOUS idea! I’m envious to my very core. Free time, free space, girlfriends….the list could go on and on. I am so very proud of you for taking this time and making this space. Mad props to your hubby, who is a saint in my mind. Mine could totally take a cue. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll look forward to living vicarously through you in your next post, because I totally want to hear all of the details. 🙂

  3. Love it! Want it for myself! How can I make this happen? It does seem like it’s too hard, but I guess, if you really want to make something happen, then you just do it, don’t you?
    Have a great weekend ladies – lots of breathing, laughing, sleeping and relaxing.

    • It really wasn’t that hard! LOL! It WAS just a matter of moving beyond talking about it! It was really my friend, Kara, that pushed me to OPEN my calendar and she threw out some dates. Then I gave the dates to my husband who pretty much made the rest happen! For me, the next hardest thing was to remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE! DO IT! If I can, ANYONE can! LOL!

  4. Found you on the Oxygen Mask Project FB page. What a terrific idea! Enjoy your time!

  5. Brava! This is so fantastic. Have a great time this weekend. Honestly, having your friends in your house to relax and talk and play is almost better than a spa because there is less pressure to do stuff and you can just BE. I can’t wait to hear how it went!

  6. Yeah!!! I am so proud of you for doing this!!! Go Karen! Go Karen!!!

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