A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Coping’

It Was a Field Day!

A couple of weeks ago Tate came home with a cute flier in his backpack. “Please join us for Kindergarten Field Day and Mother’s Day Picnic”. Below the header was a paragraph that rambled about having fun with your kindergartener, eating lunch on a blanket, and so on.

I felt a familiar pit in my stomach. You know,the one that forms when your heart wants one thing, and your head knows another. Special time with my kiddo…but a day that is non-routine, with 40 other kindergarteners, some relay games, in a gym with weird lighting…yeeshh.

Even though I figured it would be rough, I sent in our RSVP. His teacher prepped him. I prepped him. We discussed it and the teacher showed the class pictures from last year. We did our part.

I arrived a few minutes early. As I entered the gym, I saw a mom whose son is in Tate’s class. We sat and chatted. We talked to a few other moms. Many of the children who started the Early Childhood program with Tate are moving on to mainstream classrooms. It is bittersweet. Tate will still be in self-contained first grade, but I know that is the best option for him right now.

The children filtered into the gym. Tate came in and waved to me! I was pleasantly surprised. I was even more surprised when he actively participated in the activities. My son, the boy with sensory processing disorder, was handling and coping with the chaos in the gym.

He did the scooter races–on his tummy! He of the vestibular disregulation was able to stay oriented and finish his race. He also did races with one foot in a shoe box, and a potato sack race!! Was this my kid?!

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He smiled for pictures. He said hi to his “friends'” moms. He sat and had lunch with me in the gym..on the floor…in the harsh lights. He conversed–in his way.

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I texted Hubz. Our kid, who 6 months ago would have melted down during this much activity, due to overstimulation, did it! With a few accommodations, planning, and following his lead, our Tater Tot successfully participated with mainstream kindergarteners for 2 hours.

It truly was a field day…and I don’t need anything else for Mother’s Day…I got my gift in seeing Tate enjoy a social event and being able to hold it together. His progress gave me the gift of hope today…and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Per chance, to dream….

March 16th marked 18 months from the date my mom lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. I spent the day coping with the PTSD that comes with watching a parent decline–rapidly–and pass away–in 4 months.

My mom’s 67th birthday should be on March 31st. Instead of spending time with my mom and celebrating with her, I will visit her grave site, spend a little time chatting, give her some flowers, and go home. It just isn’t the same.

Earlier this month, as I struggled with my grief and the obligations of being a parent, my dad threw a zinger at us. He wanted to have all of us (us being my 2 sisters and their husbands and Hubz and I and the boys) come to his country club for Easter Brunch….to meet his girlfriend’s 3 daughters and their families. Every alarm in every fiber of my being went off….right or wrong…this was a step that I was NOT ready to make.

Is my dad’s girlfriend a godsend to him? Yes. Is she a sweet, caring person? Yes. Have I embraced her as a mainstay at family functions? For the most part. However, as I find the second holidays without my mom to be more of a struggle to get through than the first were (I don’t even remember Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2010…I have to rely on pictures to fill in the gaps.), I just couldn’t meet these 3 women. Not this way. Not now. (And please don’t get me started on the fact that I usually host Easter…

When my dad pushed for an answer, I was truthful I said I would love (ok, love may be a strong word) to meet his girlfriend’s daughters, but with the 2nd holidays without Mom hitting me so hard emotionally, AND adding on the challenges of coping with my own emotions and the difficulties Tate has with big gatherings, new people, and unfamiliar settings, I just. Wasn’t. Comfortable. But, I knew it meant a lot to him, so I would go…

That night I dreamed of my mom. She and I were going to a wedding. We were walking in front of my dad, and I was mortified because he was texting his girlfriend–in.front.of.my.mom! *gasp* I looked at my mom. She was glowing (not in a creepy-ghost way..but in a healthy-happy-content way). I asked if she was upset. She smiled, and said she wasn’t…and “you know your dad…” I woke up. I felt a sense of calm…like she was ok with it, so I should be.

My dad texted me that day. The whole thing fell apart. He never reserved the room to house all of us, and with only 3 weeks until Easter, someone else had reserved it already. Cue exhale….sshhhheeewwwwww…..

During this time I also was preparing to send out invitations to my youngest sister’s baby shower. Another reminder of Mom’s absence and the abyss it has created in my life. During “The Year of the Wedding” she and I kept each other sane. When my sister got all bridezilla, Mom got through the bride-to-be fuzz. She “kept it real”, if you know what I mean.

As only my drama-loving sister can, she got a little, um, demanding with her “must-haves” for the baby shower. I was frazzled. It wasn’t fun anymore. I.was.freaking.out.

Then, I had a dream. My mom was there. She greeted me with a huge hug and gave her “signature” back scratch with it. I felt at ease. Calm. In the dream, my mom and I were going on a trip, and I was so worried about logistics and the kids. She told me I would be fine, they would be fine, and she said that I could handle any obstacles in my way. I woke up with a smile. And I felt ok about the shower stuff. I could breathe again.

My other sister and I made our game plan, and figured out the shower. Our expectant sister calmed down once we confirmed her cake was on order from the bakery she deemed worthy suggested. All was right with the world.

As I process through this difficult month, I have continued to have dreams about my mom. Most of them are good…and most of them convince me that she is present…even if I can’t see, hold, or talk to her.

Say “When”…

I wish that Tate could just say “when” if things are getting to be too much. By now Hubz and I are more adept at knowing when it’s “when”….but dang it, if he could just say it.

This weekend we had some turmoil, and routine went out the window. Hubz’s uncle passed away after a battle with cancer and a bought of pneumonia. My mother-in-law stayed with us during the hectic last days.

All of us juggled and reprioritized our days. It was not easy, but especially so for Tate. He was a trooper, though. He tried to keep up with the rest of us. He tried to take it in stride when plans changed and we had to switch gears. He even tried to play amongst the children who gathered outside and in the basement while parents and relatives talked in hushed tones in the family room.

He bobbed up the stairs once, asking for me. I waved. He bobbed up a second time, holding a stick and began to stim with it. He resurfaced a third time, stimming with two sticks (one in each hand), and got himself the Xoom tablet. He was holding on for dear life. He tried Angry Birds. He tried Wubbzy on YouTube. He tried Imagination Movers. Nothing was doing the trick. I looked up, and he was gone, vanished into the noise coming from the basement.

Hubz went in after him. Hubz came back upstairs alone. “He’s buried under a blanket…prepping himself for a nap.” Whew.

A short time elapsed, and all kids came streaming upstairs and outside. Tate came up with them. So much for a nap…and that’s when we should have said “when”, but didn’t.

My poor kiddo lost his marbles. Over something as silly as a shovel. He really lost it. Hitting. Throwing. Screaming. Crying. Snot running down his face. He lost it. I lost it. My heart was breaking as my brave boy unraveled, as he plunged into the depths of frustration. I could feel the looks. I could feel shame creep over me. Why did I make him hang with the kids? (He wanted to.) Why didn’t I pull him into the room with me and give him a break? Why didn’t I give him quiet? Ughhh..

Thankfully the breakdown didn’t last long…and thankfully it didn’t derail him permanently for the day. But I hate that it had to happen. Hate that my boy had to drown in overstimulation before we rescued him…all because we thought maybe he knew enough to say when…but still doesn’t. Someday, sweet boy…someday…

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