I'm feeling low tonight. Janey has been fairly good. She had a great week after restarting the medication, a honeymoon period we often see with something new with her. Now, she is still fairly happy, but the screams and repetitive requests are sneaking back. But it's more than right now. It's how the days and weeks and months and years have been, and will be.
I'm thinking a lot lately about life getting away from me, about all the things I can't do. I've been wanting to get up to Maine very much, where my parents live and where I grew up. I want to see my parents and friends there, and just to be in coastal Maine in the summer---something that is one of the best things life on this planet has to offer. But I can't. I can barely go to the next room a lot of times. Any time off Tony might have had for this summer was eaten up by Janey being in the hospital, and he has to work and I have to be here for Janey. Taking her with me---I tried that last summer, and it didn't go well. It's the opposite of a rest. Summer school is a great respite for the time she's there, but then the day is over and again, I am basically trapped. As is Tony. There are so few places we can take Janey. We don't get invited places much. I can understand why. If you host Janey once, that's probably about all you can take. She isn't safe around small kids, she will get bored and scream after a short visit, she'll open your fridge and take things out, she'll find dangerous stuff you thought you had hidden well, she'll wet through her clothes onto your rugs or furniture---all things she's done. And so we have become, over the years, more and more isolated. I was thinking of summers past, with the boys. We visited people a lot, we went to the town pool, we went to the beach, we went into the city. We did a lot. And now---we do nothing.
Most of the time, I do okay with doing nothing. I'm pretty good at keeping myself entertained. I have my garden, I have books, I have my kids and my husband, I have the Wild World of the Web, I have music, crafts, TV...I'm okay. But lately, as I face down being 50 in the spring, I think about the things I can't do. My parents are getting older, and I worry about them. My nephew Zeben lives on the other side on the country, and I haven't seen him in years. I have friends I haven't seen in years either, that aren't even that far away. I am living a life that is smaller and smaller.
Maybe, lately it seems like there's a turn---a turn from thinking "This is how it is right now with Janey. I can handle this on a temporary basis" to thinking "This is how it is for good. This is the rest of my life."
This is a self-centered post. I try not to be that way. I try to focus on Janey. But I'm failing at that today. I'm thinking just about myself. I would do anything for my children, all of them. But somehow, I feel like who I am, the me that has the energy to be a good mother, to be creative and proactive and caring, is being chipped away at, by long days at home, long weeks of hoping Janey stays healthy and happy, long years filled with screaming and biting and progress that is so slow that it sometimes goes backwards.
Generally, I have little patience with myself for feeling this way. There is something in me that tells me "You had kids. There are no guarantees. You are her mother, and you are lucky to have her. You shouldn't go complaining about what life with her entails" That is true. But other times, I do a comparison of my life with Janey to the life with the probably 999 out of 1000 other kids, the kids that have friends, can go to camps and lessons and the homes of extended family, the kids that get older mentally, the kids that will someday have a job and maybe a family, the kids that might some day help their parents when the parents get old. The kids I am lucky enough to have two of. And in these darker moments, I admit to myself that although being a parent is tough for everyone, it's especially tough for our .1%.
I will get past this mood. I don't have a choice. I write about it, as I write about most things, for two reasons. It helps me to write it out, to work out my feelings---that's the first reason. The second reason is that I know there are others like me, and I want them to know they aren't alone. We are out here. We might never meet in person, for the reasons I talked about here, but it helps to know there are others living this life.