Sad but true; some days I just feel like quitting.
For nearly 35 years I’ve been caring for our son who has special needs (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delays, mental handicaps, and lots of allergies (some severe and possibly fatal, namely peanuts). Both my husband and I are on watch all the time.
- Where is he?
- What is he eating?
- What can he eat from what is being offered?
- What can’t he eat?
- What is he watching on TV; listening to on his CD player?
- Why is he not in the family room? WHERE IS HE? Oh, he’s in the basement with scissors in his hand opening a DVD that is still in the cellophane. When and how did he get down there so fast?
- Why (and HOW) did he get the Oreos and graham crackers out – is he telling me he’s hungry? He JUST had breakfast.
So many responsibilities: ongoing, endless, and day after day – 24 hours a day!
- Sometimes I can’t understand a word my son is trying to communicate - limiting my ability to help when I can’t understand.
- Sometimes his mobility is frustrating because he’s figured out just how to pull his arm away from me and take off on those long limbs (did I mention he’s 6’4” tall?) and I can’t catch him before he stumbles and falls, or simply gets away to his bedroom-slamming the door as I approach.
- Sometimes he hits, or spits, or yells, or acts like a 2 year old. It’s would be nice to put him in time out, but he doesn’t understand it, it doesn’t work, and it’s hard to “put” him there. I can’t lift him and if he’s being obstinate, there is no reasoning with him.
But when he comes to sit next to me on the couch, puts his arm around me and says, “Mom, you love me?” or “Mom, I love you forever,” I realize all those limitation melt. When I check on him at the end of the day and cover him (and he takes my hand, kisses it and says, “thanks”) I realize life might not be easy but there are rewards. I just love him. I deal with the challenges because I love him. I deal with helping him shower and shave because I love him. I help him in the bathroom simply because I love him. I don’t think about it. What comes very naturally and easily to a mom who loves her child (no matter how big or how old they are)! We just do it.
Applying for the motherhood job doesn't have an automatic “no quit” clause and it’s a good thing, because the joys far outweigh the challenges, and sometimes it takes times to recognize that!