Jim and I were in a new doctor’s office the other day answering an hour and a half interview about Jordan. I’ve lost count of how many doctors we’ve had these conversations with at this point. Much less than some people I know, but more than I care to think about…six, eight? I don’t know. We get to the part where they ask about his birth.
“Was it an exceptionally stressful time?” Is there really part of the last 15 years that wasn’t exceptionally stressful? I can’t remember.
“Was it a typical birth?” As typical as a planned C-Section is, yah.
“Was there any concerns immediately after delivery?” Well, his initial APGAR scores were low and it took forever for him to cry, but within a couple of minutes no one was worried anymore.
Jim chimes in. It wasn’t that long, babe. It was all less than a minute; it just seemed really long.
He and the doc share a knowing glance…
Well, here we are again. Me trying to come up with reasons that force it all to make sense. I could see on the doctor’s face, this isn’t new to him. I’m sure moms everywhere are trying to put their finger on the WHY, even after we know there’s no way of knowing the why, or maybe the why isn’t a why but more like 50 whys. Or there’s no why at all.
But I want a why. I want to blame something. someone. even if that someone is me, that’s okay. I get tired and I want answers, so then I can finally fix it. I’m a fixer. It’s really the worst thing you can be when you have a kid who isn’t always typical, because…there’s just no fixing some things. And then you feel guilty for even thinking that your perfectly amazing child would ever need fixing. And so the cycle goes.
These past few weeks have been a little more challenging than normal. Not with Jordan; he’s actually excelling, I think. It’s been challenging just within our family as a whole. Finances are tight, as they are this time of year: recovering from the holidays, paying for sports fees and gear, a huge car repair bill – the usual stuff. But the usual stuff sometimes feels more stifling when you’re a one income family.
Years ago, we made this decision. We will sacrifice financially so that I can be there for both of the kids in the needs that are unique to them. There have been times when I’ve gone back to work when we really needed it, or when we thought the kids were ready, but then realized maybe they weren’t. I’ve owned and run successful businesses from home, but it always ends with us feeling like the kids are taking a back seat and that I need to focus on them. It’s hard – finding that balance. It’s hard for everyone. I think, and I’ve heard from others too, it’s even harder when your family is a little more than typical.
Studies say the average family with a special needs kid spends $17,000 more per year than other families. Co-Pays and prescriptions alone add up to more than half of that in our family (never mind deductibles that I don’t even want to think about.) Then you have therapy expenses, special purchases, and the truck loads of kinetic sand and silly putty I’m constantly searching for, and…you get it. I’d say $17k is the understatement of the year. Sometimes I just have to acknowledge these things to keep perspective. Sometimes I just need to tell myself it’s okay.
It’s okay that I don’t bring in $60k+ per year like most of the women my age and with my background. It’s not time for that. It’s okay that sometimes money gets tight and the only explanation I have for that is that “shit gets hard sometimes and we just have to get through it.” It’s okay to feel suffocated by all of the needs and demands and “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW RIGHT NOWs.” It’s okay.
It’s okay to not have the answers. It’s okay to need to cry when no one is looking for no reason other than I can’t stop the tears from falling. It’s okay to be sitting in a therapist’s office answering intake questions about my son and suddenly realize everyone in the room knows that I’m probably the one that most needs the therapy.
This is being mom to someone that needs more than the “average” kid. Whatever that means. And we’re all okay, or at least we will be after a hot bath and a good cry.