"Look At Me"

"Look At Me"
monotype and screenprint

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I'll be completely honest.  I spent a good chunk of my weekend either swallowing a lump in my throat, fighting tears, or crying.  Don't get me wrong, I laughed a lot too, but today?  I'm exhausted and emotionally drained.

When I got married (almost 8 years ago), I had plans.  Lots and lots (and LOTS!!!) of plans.  No, I didn't want a white picket fence and 2.5 children and a dog or any of that nonsense.  But I wanted to be SUPERMOM.  I wanted to be like my parents.  Looking back, I realize just how incredible my childhood was.  My parents let me and my brother and sister explore so many different activities.  I was on the swim team.  I did gymnastics for a while.  I had piano lessons.  I think I even tried soccer and t-ball when I was really young.  We went to Disney World and the beach and out for ice cream.  I even remember getting up early to recycle cans with my dad.  My mom taught me how to sew and I learned at a young age how to make pancakes and eggs.  What does all of that equal?  Time.  TIME.  Whether we were in the car or spending time as a family--I didn't realize how lucky I was. 

So I wanted to be that kind of a parent too.  I wanted to be able to sign my kids up for sports and teach them how to do things and take them on trips.  I wanted to be INVOLVED in their lives, so that later on in life they could look back and say, "My mom was amazing."  Instead, I feel like I spend the majority of my time trying to get Derek to EAT or SLEEP or attempting to keep up with laundry.(Derek changes clothes at least 4 times a day because he can't handle it if he spills ANYTHING on himself and it happens all the time.)  If I'm not doing these things, I'm trying to figure out IEP's or stressing about bills or trying to keep up with artwork and keeping up with ABA schedules.  I'm not Supermom at all. 

Yesterday Tyler was the ringbearer in his uncle's wedding.  I love both of my boys equally and I wanted to see Tyler in all his glory.  He looked so grown up in his tux.  Derek and I watched from up above, where there were no people.  He did such a good job and I was SOOOOOO proud.  But Tyler didn't see me up there.  After the ceremony, he asked me, "Did you watch me, Mom?  I didn't see you."  The look on his face was full of hope.  I told him, "Of course I did, honey.  Derek and I were watching from up there."  And I showed him where we were.  Tyler instantly looked relieved, and it made me wonder how many times I've actually let him down by NOT being there because Derek had a problem of some sort.  I instantly flashed back to the first movie we'd tried to see--Winnie the Pooh.  Tyler had stayed with one of Derek's therapists and I'd had to take Derek home during the PREVIEWS.  And this is why I feel torn.  I want to be there for both of my kids.  And Tyler is just starting to notice that Derek is really, truly different.  I don't want to let either of them down. 

Pretty soon, Tyler will start asking me why we don't do the things his friends do, like go to Disney World for vacation.  Or why we can't fly to New York to see his cousin and his aunt.  Or why we can't even go out to eat at a restaurant.  (Unless you count McDonald's drive-thru.)  It's even getting hard to go shopping.  

It's easy to count the things we can't do and get discouraged.  But I prefer to think about the OTHER things:

We can go to the park across the street and climb UP the slide.
We can go to the pool and jump in the cold water over and over again.
We can eat ice cream until our bellies hurt.
We can have water balloon or squirt gun fights.
We can laugh and smile and play.
We can snuggle and watch movies under blankets.
I can tickle my children until they are giggling uncontrollably.

and most importantly...
I have two beautiful children, that are ALIVE.
I can touch them and hug them and tell them I love them whenever I want.  
I can give them my TIME.

(And now and then, I'll make sure to have "dates" with Tyler and go places with JUST him...)

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