Having kids is awesome. It’s also noisy, messy, and stressful. That’s just how it is. Throw a child with special needs into the equation, and the noise, mess, and stress is magnified. My oldest son has Down syndrome, and while I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world, I often think that most people really don’t get what it’s like to have a child with special needs. Even if you also have a child with a developmental delay, our experiences could be so completely different that you just can’t compare them. I’m not complaining or fishing for sympathy, I’m simply illustrating that certain aspects of life are more complex.
My kiddo with Ds is eight years old, and he is awesome. He loves to laugh, enjoys playing basketball and baseball, spends hours with his Hot Wheels cars, and can out-dance me any day of the week. This is the kid I hope most people see, but that’s just the surface. He is probably the most stubborn person I know (and if you know my family, that’s saying a LOT!), refuses to be potty trained (he had it earlier this year, then regressed after a tonsillectomy over the summer, and we just can’t get it back), and throws himself on the floor in an ugly tantrum at least twice daily (and most often, in public, when we have an audience). When people do see these little episodes, and observe me trying to deal with them (usually while herding the other two kids, plus an armful of their stuff), I wonder what must be going through their heads. It’s hard not to, right?
Knowing all of this, and adding all of life’s other lovely obstacles into the mix (stuff we all deal with: financial woes, time management – or lack thereof, dealing with relationships, the endless task of cleaning the house…), it should be easy to understand why I might be stressed out. Ok, that’s an understatement. I am definitely stressed out, most of the time. I’ve learned to just accept that as a fact of life, and until someone hands me a magic wand that will instantly clean my house, potty train my kid, and plant a money tree in my backyard, that’s probably how it will be.
You will have to excuse me, then, when you simply tell me to “Relax, Jen!” and I fight the urge to punch you. Don’t you see the mess piling up behind me, my poorly behaving children at the most inopportune moments, and my gray hair from debating whether or not to go back to work full time and worrying if we can handle it, schedule-wise?? (Actually, you better not see my gray hair because I pay a lot to have it disguised.) Just relax?!? Seriously??
Well, ok then. I’ll try. It won’t be easy, and I can’t promise success, but I will try in the new year to not be as uptight and stressed out over every last thing.
This is HUGE, people. Not only am I admitting that I need to change something about myself, but I’m agreeing to do something that I haven’t been able to do for almost the last nine years. I will need help, and your patience, to make this attempt. And if I accidentally punch you, my apologies. I’m still learning how to relax.
So, here’s to the new year. May it bring, at the very least, a potty trained kiddo, a clean house, and 20 minutes a day for this Mama Duck to sit down and read a book without being interrupted. Cheers!