Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘stress’

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…

If you follow my Facebook page as well as this blog you know that this has been a challenging and busy summer for me. If you’re reading this blog for the first time, well…this summer has been very difficult to say the least. I wrote a little bit about it here.

My summer has been filled with running “Camp Rabinowitz” and “Rabinowitz Taxi Service”. This means that our home has been a revolving door of kids in and out and my van has rarely sat in the garage for more than an hour or so at a time. I also work part-time and I’ve been working well over the hours I had been hired for.  Interestingly, I was told that after the first of the year my hours would actually decrease and there was question as to whether I would even have a job at all. With that in mind I had been trying to work on some things that might give me options to supplement the potential for less income. It seemed like a good and prudent idea at the time. Except now I’ve been loaded down with more work that I can remember, especially during the summertime! And because both my husband’s and my incomes are so variable, my baseline stress is high to begin with.  Oh, did I mention I don’t handle stress well? (see link above).

All that being said, we do usually manage time to take a very short trip once a year to visit family in the Greater Michiana Area. The kids love spending a day or two on Lake Michigan and have been asking when we’re leaving for our annual trip all summer long. Grant and I had considered not even taking the trip due to time constraints and tight finances but we hated to disappoint the kids and it’s a nice break for all of us. We love spending time with our awesome extended family there! With some creative scheduling and financial “maneuvering”, we set the dates for our trip.

Then my husband discovered that our trip was scheduled for the same weekend that the company he works for is doing their computer conversion and those dates had been blocked out for months from anyone taking vacation time. Crap.

In a moment of insanity weakness desperation… no, we better go with insanity here, I suggested that I take the kids up north by myself. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  The kids are getting older. They truly love this trip and so as long as the DVD players are hooked up in the van, it’s a relatively easy drive. You know, as easy as a 6-7 hour drive can be with an almost-7 year-old on the Spectrum, a 5 year-old, and a 14 year-old. Then out of the blue, I had an idea that because I knew I would be relying on quite a bit of help from Molly, maybe she could bring a friend.  So, add a 13 year-old to the passenger list.

…I woke up this morning realizing that we leave THIS Thursday; the prospects of the trip are a bit overwhelming for me. As before any trip for me I stress out over making sure I’m caught up on work (that’s the hardest part!), organizing, packing, and general overall anxiety about…well, just about everything. This will be the first time I’m doing this by myself…

Well… it seemed like a good idea at the time…

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First Grade IEP-Oh How Far I’ve Come!

Today is Henry’s IEP. We will be discussing where he is now in regards to his development, what he will need for first grade in the fall, etc. I know many of you know (and live) this scenario.

I’ve only really been stressing obsessing thinking about this meeting for a few days now. Which in itself kind of freaks me out. Yes. Basically I’m freaking out about not freaking out.

A year ago I wrote about getting ready for Henry’s Kindergarten Transition IEP and then when it was all said and done I did a follow-up piece. As I re-read these posts I could feel my anxiety and emotion about it all over again.

But this year is different. I only just pulled my son’s binder off the shelf and gave it a quick flip through to make sure I have current information, progress reports included and well…that’s about it.

Henry has come so very far in the last year! (As he had the year before that!) And I’ve come to realize that I too have made progress! I’ve gained confidence in our new elementary school and our team we have in place there. I have a new confidence in myself that I CAN and WILL advocate effectively for my son and we are teaching him and enabling him to advocate for himself!

I give MUCH credit to our school and teachers that have allowed us to take such an active role in our son’s time at school. We have been so very fortunate to have had AMAZING teachers in our son’s life beginning with his SSD preschool teachers (whom I still keep in contact with!) and then Henry’s Kindergarten team  this year…they have helped and taught Henry so well. But above and beyond that, they have truly SUPPORTED our family, given me confidence in myself and my son.  His general education Kindergarten teacher this year…well, wow!  I’m at a loss for words regarding her…spectacular-ness!

My son is moving on to first grade in the fall. We’ll be discussing that and making plans for the next school year soon.  In less than an hour and a half, to be exact. Sure, I’m a bit anxious. But not “freaking out” anxious. Compared to a year ago? I’ve come so very far!

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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