Monday, August 20, 2007

Illusions of normalcy

Someone from a buddy group of mine sent me a really sweet e-mail over the weekend (besides the comments posted here - thank you all for your kind words) that really affected me - but not in the way I think she had hoped it would:
"I just wanted to say that I really admire the way you are handling the situation. I'm sure it's not easy, but so many parents fall apart or go into some sort of denial that their child has any sort of problem."
You see, I have a much better facade than most people think...

I rarely fall apart in public. Or, to family and friends. Or, to the Hubby. Although, as my boss has mentioned to me, my body language is usually what rats me out eventually...

I choose to suffer in private most of the time - which is what probably triggered the anxiety issues of the past. I don't like to cast my sorrows, fears, anxieties onto anyone else...although I am not afraid to have anyone cast theirs on me.

Guess I have learned martyrdom or stoic-ness well.

I know, logically, Chris' prognosis with PDD-NOS will be good. He is very smart, very affectionate, very willing to interact with others and be a normal little boy. He just needs some help to stop the behaviors that make him "different" and to help him to verbally express himself (which will, in turn, also help him to stop the behaviors that make him "different"). The doctor herself feels that, with the right services now, he will do extremely well.

...And, I know that we have a great support system. Everyone wants to learn what will be his new routines (although someone in particular in that mix needs a blow to the head every once and a while as a reminder that she doesn't know it all). Everyone wants to help beat the challenges he faces.

...And, I also know that eventually he will have the right services to address his needs. I just need the right combination of persistence and patience.

But, the problem is for me right now, besides getting Chris into the programs that he needs to be in, is the impact this diagnosis is going to make on the things that I WANTED for my life.

Very selfish...isn't it??

But, you see, from when I was a little girl, all I ever, EVER wanted out of my life - more than my education, more than my health, more than the things I could acquire in my lifetime - was to have a great marriage, a loving family, to have to two or three children to make my family "complete" and to be able to stay at home with those children and raise them myself.

I do have a great marriage - to a kind man who is willing to put up with my moods and irrational moments, and to support me when I need it most. I can even forgive the pigsty he would have no problem living in, if I weren't on his butt to clean up all of the time.

And, I do have a loving family - especially a son who means more than everything to me. Chris is the best thing in my life - which is driving me so much to get him in the right place, with the right services.



I have already had to sacrifice not being home with Chris. I had to work because of the second mortgage we have hanging over our heads - AKA, Hubby's law school loans (for a career that, quite frankly, he never wanted - it was his, his mother's...prodding for that). And, I had to work because Hubby just wasn't making enough to cover our expenses (i.e., credit card bills he accumulated in said law school that he hated). And, we needed the insurance coverage - of course, now more than ever.



Now I am getting hit with the fact that, in addition to being cheated out of my time home with Chris - MY chance to be the full time mother, caregiver, educator, boo-boo healer - I probably will never have another living child nor will I get the time at home with any child.

That really, really hurts.

With the real prospect of having to move to a better town with a much better school district vs. the original plan to put Chris in catholic school and stay where we are for a while (until we could save to move), that just about kills any idea of another child... I just don't see how we can afford another child now.

Besides, my chances are not that good as it is, with all of the medical crap I have going on.

And, Chris' health has to be our first priority.

I am trying not to host a pity-party - that won't help Chris in any way. But, the thought of him being an only AND me never having had the time with him at home except for the 2 months of maternity leave when he was a new born just burns a huge, gaping hole in my heart.

I am so, so glad that my mom and my MIL have had time with Chris - that is time they can always cherish, and build a great relationship on as Chris gets older. But, I just feel like I am a part-time parent. I get visitation rights on evenings, weekends and holidays. And, when I have him, there are other things that have to get done too - cook, clean, upkeep the house that we have to upkeep more to try to sell.

...All the while, Chris asks me to "Sit right here!"

That request to play and be happy with him rings in my ears every day. I don't always just get to sit and play. I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, floors to vacuum....things that I could be doing as he naps during the week days when I could have been home.

I know there are women who thrive on the challenge of it all - being a full time mom and a full time professional. I am glad that they can balance it all - and be happy. But, I can't. I don't. I would much rather be neck-deep in sand with Chris or vacuuming while he naps than having to arrange things for people who are going to bitch no matter how well you do it.

You know, I just feel like my God - the one I CHOSE to follow when I was 16 years old, back when I thought things were "hard" with my parents not getting along and school being challenging - really, really let me down. I have prayed so hard - not for monetary things, but for health, for another child, for time with Chris, for Chris' happiness and health, for a good marriage, for patience to let things come to us when they should and in God's time - so hard until my knees were red and numb.

Did he answer? No, not that I can really see that well right now.

Maybe I am expecting too much. Or, my prayers are misdirected in some way. Or, I just lost my faith completely now...thinking it was back when the Gods of Lexapro were in the house.

But, when I took my marriage vows almost nine years ago, I promised so many things - including and especially accepting children from God. Did I do something wrong? I am here, waiting - hands waving high enough, clenched so hard they are turning red - for those children God asked us to accept into our hearts to come.

For some reason, I am passed over. And, as I an passed over, Chris gets whacked with challenges he now has to face at such a young and innocent age, and three other children got called back too soon...were not given a chance to be here with us.

Is it too much to ask for one more child to love? To care for? To want to do anything for?

I mean, I knew friends in college who went home with a guy - every weekend after a party, and not necessarily the same guy. They didn't care about their grades. Didn't care about themselves, their dignity or self-worth. They partied hardy, and lived life on the edge. But, they now have at least two children - no problems getting pregnant, no problems staying pregnant. I knew people who got into all kinds of trouble - alcohol, whatever - and they had no problems having children, even down to the ones that the "didn't want." Even my own sister and brother have 6 children among them - and they were the ones who got into all of the trouble when we were young. Did I not whore around enough? Do I not have enough garbage in my background to now teach my children by example now? Do I not have enough lessons to teach?

Or, is it the other end of the spectrum? Was I not virtuous enough like the Dugger's to be able to give birth like bunnies and have a pack of children? Should I have not used curse words at all? Should I have not had a beer in college? Should I have not given the finger to the guy who almost took the front of my car off with Chris in the car? Should I have given more to the Salvation Army collection at Christmas time?

Yes, I am angry. And frustrated. And disappointed. This is NOT where I wanted my life to be - or Chris' life either - right here and right now.

What did I do wrong?

At the very least, God could have answered one prayer and left Chris alone - kept him perfectly happy and healthy. Why does he have to face these challenges now?

Why couldn't God have allowed me to protect the one precious, living child I was able to have?

It just doesn't seem fair.

Maybe, as Chris gets into the appropriate services, and he begins to improve, I will feel a little bit better about things. Come back to reality a bit more. Think a little more clearly and logically. There are so many things left unanswered right now because we are still waiting for the township's child study team to start their evaluation...all of my worries and upsets and anxieties are based on the things we don't know yet.

But, for right now, I am bitter and angry - not just because of the things that I feel robbed of, but because I couldn't shield Chris from this. I feel like I let him down. I couldn't protect the only living child I have from something that could affect his entire lifetime.

I feel like I have failed terribly at my vocation in this life.


Adrienne said...

I know it's hard to see right now, because you're angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed, and all the other emotions that must be swirling around, but I truly believe that there is a blessing to be found in every happening in our lives. It may take years to see it - but one day you will look back and say "A-ha. Now I understand why things happened the way they did." Cold comfort now, I know. And feel free to tell me to shut up, since things are going well for me at the moment, so it's easy for me to say, etc.

Big hugs to you right now, Tina. Your plate is very full and alot is being asked of you, and you have every right to be resentful. Every right.

But please, please, please don't think you've failed, okay?

niobe said...

I know you're bitter and angry right now, but YOU HAVE NOT FAILED. Just the opposite, in fact. It's because of you, because you insisted on getting on getting Chris evaluated that he's going to get the services he needs.

It is unfair that right now you aren't able to stay at home with Chris and that right now TTC doesn't seem feasible. I know this probably doesn't help much to hear, but things change. It may be that your circumstances in a little while are very, very different and that things that seem impossible now will become possible.

I am thinking of you.

Delenn said...

I know this sounds trite right now, but I do think its the quality of time you spend with your child, not the quantity. You obviously care so much for Chris, and you are doing what you can for him. And you love him. That is enough. As for other children, maybe its being put off for just a little while, not forever.

You are in my thoughts.

Enola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Val said...

Huge huge hugs. I'm in the same boat. Wanting another one but unable too because of my mental health. Needing to move to a better school district and closer to work, but unable to afford baby #2 if we do that. Stuck in a career that is killing me slowly because I have 6 figure school loans to pay.

Excuse my whining on your post. I don't mean to be a post-piggy.

If we lived closer, I'd come over and we'd have a girls weekend and let down our facades together.


Sunny said...

I am so sorry. You have the right to be upset, hurt and all that jazz. You are grieving what you had hoped for and didn't get. It never is fair when you are on the end of the crap stick.


The Town Criers said...

I think you should feel as you are feeling now without apology and without thinking about how you'll feel in the future. These a huge disappointments--and some of the list goes well beyond disappointment. You have every right to be angry, sad, frustrated. You have every right to scream and cry. And hopefully those things will help you move to better ground. But they're also an ends to themselves. It really sucks, sweetie. And I hope it gets better soon.

Di said...

left my mega comment on your email.
love di

Rachel said...

I am sorry you are so frustrated. I don't have answers, and I don't understand God's plans either.

I think you are being too hard on yourself calling yourself a failure. I would give you a hug right now if I could.

Right after my miscarriage, my husband and I read the book of Job together. In a way it was helpful to see that even though Job was a faithful servant of God, God still allowed hardship to occur to Job. Despite everything that happened, Job was still able to be faithful. It may not be helpful to you, but I did find comfort in the story.

Karianne said...

Tina, The comments that you made about being let down by God speak so clearly to me right now. I think that I may have written about the same type of thing just this week or last. With my miscarriages and my dad's death, I just don't feel my faith anymore and am really questioning so much of what I used to believe. Thanks for the post since now I'm not feeling so alone.

I'm hating money at the moment too!

Cyber hugs to you and yours

Meghan said...

I just saw your blog posted on the lost and found. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. I wanted to let you know that there are fantastic resources for children with PDD in the NJ area. I've worked with students with autism for the last 10 years. Please let me know if you want any resources or anything like that.

And please make sure you take the time to find supports for yourself. It sounds like you are a great mom to Chris!!!