Saturday was one of the bitter sweet days. Not only was the occasion bitter sweet (we were having a bon voyage party for my parents who will be leaving the area and moving 4 hours away) but bitter sweet when it comes to making the decision to bring Walker with us or not.
Why is that even a decision you might ask? All of my other children would be attending but bringing him elicits a whole lot of complications, not only in schematics but also in emotions.
The schematics are what equipment do we bring? Do we bring blankets, his wheel chair, his orthodics, what about food? What time will it be over? Where can i change his diaper? (people can become upset seeing five year old having his diaper changed) Will he be cranky because its too loud or too smelly?
Then there is the emotional part:
You have to understand that people avoid him… and me….. now I know you just gasped… thinking “who would ignore such a sweet boy” but the truth is… it might be you! Think about it. On paper we all can say that we are totally comfortable being around people with special needs, but if you really examine your own behavior you might have to admit… your are not.
Guess what? That’s okay! Honestly he doesn’t know the difference! He doesn’t know if you don’t come over and see him and kiss him hello or goodbye. He doesn’t know the difference if you never hold him or hug him. He doesn’t know the difference because this is just how it is.
But guess what?? I do.
So bringing him to a party like this is emotional. Its hard to socialize and be around people who interact and seek out my three year old but are so uncomfortable that they don’t even say hello to her brother.
Its emotional for me to know that sometimes as a parent its easier to leave him with grams so I can actually have a good time and not worry about all the schematics and emotions.
Its emotional for me to realize that there are only a few people who truly do love him for who he is and love me for taking care of him the best way i can.
My baby sister asked me if I thought it was easier to ignore him because he is still small. She wondered when he gets bigger would people be forced to interact with him… I told her I don’t think so. I work with adults with special needs and those that are out going and socialize force others to interact with them, but those that are introverted and don’t can often be ignored. Walker is not socially in anyone’s face, he probably never will be.(he gets that from his father) Thinking about it though, I guess you could say this is the same as people without disabilities, but the difference is that “normal” people don’t have family members who are sensitive to how their children are accepted into the world.
A few people did seek him out and ask about his progress and give him a tickle or make a silly noise to get his infectious laugh… for those people, I thank you. They were able to find the joy in him that I find every day.. because the reality is it is hard… and without that laugh and those smiles it would be even harder.
Today was officially day one of my new position. I am now a Program Coordinator and this means that I get to run a residential house of 5 Teenage girls with Autism. I get to run everything from staffing, to inventory to program for the girls.
I am super excited, but secretly wondering if I bit off more than I can chew! The house hasn’t had any real leadership and the staff are burnt out, unhappy and seriously uneasy having someone come in and change everything up!
Today I planned on just going in and observing, but by the afternoon I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut! Wow, so its a hard line to toe, I don’t want to come in blazing, but they need to know that I am serious and that certain things are not negotiable!
So, I’ve got my work cut out for me, which I was warned, but luckily….. I love a challenge!
So I have this amazing new job!! And now, just two months there they are promoting me! This is totally exciting and awesome. It is so nice to be in a place that not only recongzizes potential but cultivates it as well!
Most of my day is spent one on one with the residents there, helping them complete tasks like gardening, screening plants for tea, or just normal life on a farm.
It trully is one of the most beautiful places in our area!!
My new job will be managing a residential house with 5 teenage girls. Now this may sound like a nightmare to most of you, but I am totally pysched!! I will be getting new staff and the whole campus has a “college” like feel. the buildings are set up in quads, 3 residential houses and the education center which also has the dining hall.
I can’t wait to get settled then start planning activities for the whole campus! Summer olympics, and kick ball games are on my list! (My family is not surprised since I was the promoter of the Blake Lake Olympics in the summer of 2007)
Try not to be too jealous!!
I feel like a fake, a big fat phony! Yup, that’s me alright….. pretending I’ve got a handle on things when in fact I have internal Chaos!
I started my new job and the place is amazing! I am working with five autistic woman in their home, and at their employment. I’m working ten-hour days and am trusted by my organization and their families to love, care and help cultivate their fullest potential. So why am i fake? because at home with Mr. I am not nearly as patient, as understanding nor as knowledgable.
I know they are not the same, I know that he faces different types of challenges and that as a parent my emotions get way more involved than they do at my place of employment. bI know that sleep depravation has long lasting affects and I know that my other children get second fiddle when Mr. is not happy.
But the truth is, the “Center” is really solidifying my understanding of where and how Mr. will be in the future.
The truth is that I know in my heart that the “center” will be able to care and provide for Mr. so much better than I will be able to in the future.
The truth is that the “center” is the expert. They have round the clock employees, they have a nursing staff, they have OT, and PT’s and speech and amazing people who truly believe that people with disabilities are no different from you and I.
The truth is that this is a journey that will take some time, and that I am hoping that along the way I don’t loose myself or the other people in my life.
These are my last days here at my current position. I am feeling some mixed emotions. I love the kids I work with and even their families. This morning one of the dads called me because he said he needed someone who would understand and he thought of me! This is what I will miss.
What I have learned here though is incredible. After all my years of psychology classes and reading Dear Abby, I have gotten to see the concepts in real life. I have seen the damage done by physical and mental abuse. I have seen the legacy it creates in families who just don’t know anything different. It does not dimish their intregreity, they just have never been show “how”.
There is a strict NO PC rule (no physical contact) which I understand for administrative purposes, but the reality is, many of these kids just need love! Heck, many of their parents do to! I wish I could have reached out and hugged them time and time again!
I struggled with the boundaries that all supportive care givers struggle with. Learning to leave work at work and not take things so personally. I learned that telling someone he/she is a good kid while looking them directly in the eyes is priceless!
I learned that working with families who are in crisis does not mean you have to manage them in crisis as well, and I learned that a little humor goes a long way!
I learned that even the child who has had nothing their whole lives will still be willing to share.
I learned that everyone has a story, and those stories are all human.
I have met some remarkable people here, and some amazing kids! I feel grateful at the opportunity that I was given to be a small part in all of their lives. They have been a big part in mine!
What would your vagina wear?
My vagina, would wear what ever it wanted, whenever it wanted. It has birthed four children and still likes to think of itself as young and inspiring.
It has labeled me a woman all of my life, it means to some that I may not be smart enough, strong enough or capable of changing a tire.
It has been the driving force of many a relationship and has taught me how to interact with the men and the world.
My vagina has no voice, no rights except those that I give it. I once thought of it as a property agreement between husband and wife, but now my thoughts are different.
What would my vagina say using two words?
What happens when you wake up one day and realize that you have lived your whole life and made all of your decisions based on the expectations of everyone else? How do you move ahead and figure out what it is exactly you want from your own life, from yourself? What happens if what you do want does not coincide with the life you are currently living?
Do you suck it up and keep on keeping on?
Do you find some hybred way of living that allows you to “do it all”?
Do you scap it all and start again?
What about the people in your life that will be hurt and confused? In what way am I responsible for thier pain? Can I make changes with compassion and intregrity?
Is it that I am just trully not happy with myself? Is it on some deep level that I feel I am not worthy of being happy? That I am not worthy of being loved? Will accepting those concepts make me any happier where I am at now?
Is there just a chemical inbalance in my head? Am I just not wired correctly? Do I just have to push through it to come out to the other side eventually?
10. You’re done right? As if I haven’t thought about this before? Thanks so much for pointing it out! After dropping my entire weeks paycheck in the grocery store I am considering feeding something else!
9.Don’t you have a television? Yes actually we have only one, since we can’t afford more with the grocery bills and all, and its constantly playing Dora or Sponge bob…. serious tv to put one in the mood for procreation!
8. Are you religious? Yes, actually, I swear to God about twice a day
7. Are you crazy? My psychologist assures me I am not but he always hands me these little white pills to take twice a day. They go down great with vodka!
6. How do you do it??? See #7
5. Are they all yours? I have the stretch marks and little white pills to prove it!
4. Were they all planned? Yes, in moments of lots of vodka… but yes they were planned.
3.How will you send them all to college? ….. with a one way bus ticket!
2. I never would have guessed you had four kids! Actually I am getting it tattooed on my forehead soon, a #4 in a circle…. maybe red.
Which is quickly followed with the most annoying response……
1.You don’t look like you have four kids! Not sure what this really means, am I not old enough looking? not fat enough? not enough grey hair? Not enough wrinkles or twitches…. exactly what does one look like after having multiple children? Maybe you should ask my gyno!
So I’ve been especially quiet over here…. seems to be my trademark beginning statement of my blogs as of late. This time I can’t blame it on my graduate work, or the kids being sick, or the internet bill not getting paid…. its just clearly me.
I’m in a yucky place. A place that I’m afraid to blog about because some of my reader base will be offended. A place that I’m afraid that if I open the door, a whole flood will come rushing through and I will spend the next days, weeks, months or years trying to clean up the mess.
I know we’ve all been there.
I know I’m not alone…. but why does it feel so dark?
I don’t need pick me up lines like “hang in there” or “it gets easier” what I want right now is a rant. a blog about pissing and moaning…. so if you wouldn’t mind obliging me…. please post crappy comments, about life sucking misery…. I sure could use the company!
It almost seems surreal. I will be starting my new job this week. This is the job that I have been hounding and interviewing with since last May. This is the job that I almost gave up on. I remember asking a friend “should I keep calling?” and her reply was “would you keep calling a guy like this?”….. truth is… I have! When I want something, I am extremely persistent. (aka… annoying)
So here it is and part of me is thinking… holy sh*t, am I really ready to go back to work full time? Am I ready to get up early each morning and do the children shuffle out the door to get to work on time? Am I organized enough to plan ahead for dinner and shop and prepare so that we have food to eat when I get home. (because all of my “other” duties” will not shift now that I am back working) Am i really ready to have my to do list be longer?
So why am I doing it then? Because I want to be part of something larger than myself. I want a place that will value me because of my mind and my abilities and not just because I got the laundry done and the living room vacuumed. Because I need to be something other than “mother and wife”.
I’m excited! I can’t wait to decorate my office. I can’t wait to set up a resource area for the kids in my program to read. I can’t wait to offer new activities and mostly I can’t wait to learn from them as well.