Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Simple choices aren't so simple

My mom came home to visit the first week of the month for Carter's Mitochondrial Disease walkathon and only planned to stay a week.  That week has turned into 3!  The day of the walkathon, my brother and his beautiful girlfriend shared their big news that they are expecting their first baby in March!  That one week plan turned into 2 when mom decided to stay for KayLeigh's 9th birthday party!  Then she decided to stay to help my brother paint a room in his basement for their guest bedroom so they can start working on the baby's nursery.  Throughout this 3 weeks, my mom has asked me to go back to Florida with her for a couple weeks until she comes back to Michigan for her 50th birthday.  A very tempting and exciting idea!  I would love to go down and see the beach, friends and sunshine...I really would love to.  At first, I was all for it and ready to start packing.  But then I came crashing back to reality.  To go on a vacation for 2 weeks means Carter missing 10 days of school.  10 days.  It also means that Lily would miss 2 out of 6 ballet classes that I already paid for and looked forward to for months.  I would have to reschedule 3 appointments and make a new one to get Carter cleared to travel.  I would be away from my husband for 14 days.  And most importantly, I would be taking a leap of faith with Carter's health.  Living in Pensacola for 3 years was brutal when it came to emergency medical care for Carter...the local hospital just isn't equipped to care for children with severe medical problems.  14 days of risk.  A risk that I am scared to death to take.

A week after we moved back to Michigan in March of 2012, Carter landed in ICU when his system crashed.  It is still unknown as to why this happened.  But one thing is for sure; I am terrified of this happening again.  If it had happened in Pensacola, I fear the thought of what could have happened.  We had made it home just in time to be near one of the best children's hospitals that was able to save his life.

To many people, rescheduling appointments or missing a couple ballet lessons is simple in the big picture.  A Florida vacation would trump it all and they would do it in a heart beat.  But these choices aren't so simple for me.  The reality is that I have a special needs child; a medically fragile son.  Traveling is a risk.  Trusting emergency departments is impossible.  Optimism lags behind realism.  One week away would be okay, but 2 weeks is too much.  I just can't do it.  Simple choices aren't so simple.  They just aren't.

So I have decided to wait until we can plan this vacation better and when my husband can come along.  My gut tells me that this is the right thing to do.  For some reason, the timing just isn't right.  One thing I have learned over the last 4.5 years is to trust my gut.

Monday, September 2, 2013

My therapy!

Being a stay at home mom isn't always easy. I don't have unlimited time to do the tasks and housework that I constantly take mental note of but never get a chance to cross off.  Growing up with a mom who mopped, vacuumed, made beds, did dishes, took the garbage out and tidied every single day...I was inevitably programmed to do the same thing.  I remember as a child and teenager always hearing my family tease me that I would grow up to be the worst housekeeper ever and that my home would be condemned.  I HATED doing my chores and my bedroom was a scary place.  I was yelled at on a daily basis to take my dirty dishes to the sink, put my laundry in the hamper and make my bed.  As I got older, I got better at hiding these things just to avoid it at all costs.  I can just picture my mom standing in the drive way as I pulled away with the last of my belongings and on my way to my first apartment at the young of 18 and instead of having tears streaming down her face, she probably did a happy dance until she lost her breath.  I'm pretty sure she had the blue colored walls covered that same day in a flowery wallpaper and fairy border.  She had that room turned into a guest room faster than I could unpack my car a few miles away.

But surprisingly I outgrew that phase of my life.  I am the epitome of what drove me nuts as a child.  I am compelled to do daily chores and every item has it's rightful place where it must always go.  The first 3 years of Carter's life, it was easy to maintain my house and I never struggled to stay on top of it all.  He was always such an easy baby and never made messes.  I remember wondering what all the other moms were talking about when they said they couldn't keep up with their house.  I even had time to sew, bake, run errands, mail letters, and call family often.  Then came Lily!  My little burst of energy child.  Even as a newborn baby, she was very demanding for my time.  I watched as dust bunnies collected in corners and dishes grew faster than I could keep up with.  I don't handle clutter or messes well; to the point that I can physically feel it's burden on my shoulders.  I despise a full laundry basket and cluttered counters.  I can't bare to see crumbs on the floor or unmade beds.  Finding the time to stay on top of these chores is becoming more and more difficult as my children get older and require more of my time.  With Carter standing and banging his head ALL the time, I am constantly redirecting him!  With Lily getting bored easily and needing me to entertain her or pick up after her nonstop, I can hardly find time to do anything else.

To top off my already very demanding schedule, we have had a VERY busy summer!  We visited family in Iowa, went to a Fun concert, had more appointments than I can remember, Carter's Make A Wish trip to California, birthday parties, the Color Run, 4th of July, Carter's summer school and much more!  We also lost a wonderful man this last week and my heart has been heavy.  This man was like a grandpa to me; he WAS a grandpa to me.  He was my God-mother's father (who also passed away 4 years ago).  Seeing him struggle so much this summer was heartbreaking.  His passing is a huge lost to everyone who knew him.

So as the summer catches up to me, I feel that overwhelming weight of all the things I need to catch up on.  I see the many tasks and projects around my house that need to be finished.  Today, my wonderful husband took the kids to my dads Labor Day cookout while I stayed home by myself to clean.  To me, there is no better therapy than this.  Seeing the progress and thinking of nothing else than what is at hand, is just what I needed right now.  In 4 hours, I was able to do 5 loads of laundry, vacuum, scrub the bathroom, clean all 3 bedrooms, mop the dining room and kitchen floors, organize paperwork, put laundry away, clean and organize the front porch, fold blankets, put toys away, organize shoes in the shoe rack, wipe down kitchen cupboard doors and appliances, unload dish washer, put away new medical supplies, dust the entire house, lysol all the furniture and even bleach the washer basin!  As each thing was checked off my internal memory list, I could feel the weight lifting.  I could feel my mind finding ease for the first time in weeks.  I needed this time to do nothing but work uninterrupted.

My husband is on his way home with the kids and I am soaking in the last few minutes of quiet and absolute clean.  I am able to miss them without feeling rushed or overwhelmed with what still needs to be done.  I know that cleaning and organizing may not be therapy for most, but I strongly encourage everyone to find that happy place and visit it as often as possible.  Even if you have to get a babysitter a few hours once a week just so you can submerge yourself in what brings you peace; it is important.  I believe it makes us better parents!  I know I needed this more than anything else I can possibly think of.  I can hear my husband unloading the kids as I type this and hear Lily saying "mommy!"  I can't wait to go down and grab her up.  I can't wait to hear about their day.  It's nice to not have anything on my mind or constant nagging reminders to do this and do that.