Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Just Explaining -- Nobody Freak Out

Some days I feel like I'm wearing a "Hello, My Name is. . . " stickers, only instead of "Starr" filling the space it reads "exhausted, overwhelmed, incompetent mother of an austistic child." Yesterday was one of those.

Jason and I had a meeting with the school staff who oversee his development, the psychologist who routinely meets with us, & two new people who specialize in supporting schools who have students with autism. In the meeting, the head teacher (the British equivalent of a principle) pointed out several times that being the parent of three active children, especially one that has special needs, is a daunting job and that I often appear "worn out." Since Graham's tendency to run away as we walk to & from school was also a big part of the discussion, I have spent the last 24 hours feeling like the imaginary name tag on my chest is the size of a billboard.

As we sat in that meeting, the thought came, "This is your job." That thought makes me so sad. It makes me feel like I'm the depressed, bored, drone who will be stuck in the same dead-end situation until the grave -- and the world knows it.

I don't know how to turn it around. I can't snap my fingers & have Graham's condition change, I can't make Cami & Rose be perfect, self-caring children, & I can't return to the bright times in my college life when it felt like I could conquer the world. I just don't know how to give my family everything they need. And I don't know if my job will ever allow two weeks vacation.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

He Needs a Big Broom

Graham's teaching assistant asked him yesterday what he could do to help things be better/easier at home.  She smiled with delight & a bit of tenderness (I think) when she told me his response:

"I can put all the ash back in the volcano so Daddy can come home."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Choosing Joy

Jason's been in New Jersey since Wednesday.  He was supposed to be home today, but the Icelandic volcano has interrupted air travel to the United Kingdom, so he's getting to spend some extra time in the U.S.  When I got the message from him this morning I wasn't sure how to face the day, but I knew we would survive.

As I was trying to hurry Cami along, I recognized that our morning family scripture reading wasn't going to happen if the kids would make it to school on time.  So, I stood on the stairs with Cami complaining at me and recited a short Book of Mormon verse in my head.  "Adam fell that man might be, men are that they might have joy."  And for the first time, I really felt that I could choose joy.   So I chose to smile.  Cami noticed immediately.  "Why are you smiling?" she accused, probably thinking I was laughing at her.  I quickly explained that I was choosing to smile, even though the day ahead seemed hard.

I found things to appreciate in this "hard day."  Rose & I planted sprouted peas & I felt much better for being out in my garden.  At lunch I purposely based my meal around plate of the lettuce that I cut in my own back yard.  I chose to place cucumber slices in a pressed glass compote dish, carrot sticks in a blocky, white ceramic, & hummus in a red dish.  I needed that color in my life.  

I added something new (and atypically colorful) to my closet when I bought an emerald green linen dress, feeling like it was time to start having a "spring wardrobe."  And I chose to enjoy the truly new (only out of the ground for 15 minutes) potatoes that Rose harvested about four months too early.  The largest was the size of a large marble, the tiniest the size of a tear drop.  I actually tried one raw, wondering if something that fresh was tasty, but I couldn't swallow.  So I relished them quickly fried in goat butter.

It helps that the sun is shining.  It helps that Cami wanted to set the table with fancy dishes & wine glasses for our supper of fish and chips.  And it helps that I've chosen to choose joy today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Degree of Separation

My niece Rebekah (and her soon-to-be-husband Tyler -- status changes on the 28th) are in a music video.  How cool is that?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

(American) Mother's Day Meal

Rose stood at the top of the stairs proudly displaying the toy pot & lid in her hands. As she put the lid on tight, I asked if she was cooking. After she nodded, I asked what she was making. In her stilted, two-year old, trying-not-to-be-tongue-tangled voice, she said, "I'm making pas-ta."