I totally missed you last week.
I didn't forget, I just didn't know what to say. Or how to say it.
Don't worry, everything is fine now, but it got really hard for a bit.
I bet you have an extra stressor or two or three since this pandemic hit, too. We all do! We all do. Everyone's situation is different. Everyone's new stress load is different. Everyone handles their new stress differently.
So please don't judge anyone else. You don't know what they are going through. If you are not going to help them, let it be. We are all at different points in our life in our growth. We are ALL still learning. And just when you think you know it all, WHAM! You learn a hard lesson.
Let me be vulnerable here and say that I was judging myself. Not only was I holding my expectations for raising a 5-year-old with extra needs too high, I projected the judgement I put on myself onto others.
That means, I felt others were also judging me.
As I type that out now, it sounds really dumb.
I wish I would have typed it weeks ago. That is really a harsh thing to think that anyone would belittle a solo person who has a hard task and constantly tries their best.
If somebody was looking negatively upon me, however, that's not my problem. I still did my best.
Want to know what I had to do?
I had to send Brady P. off to his grandparents' house. During a pandemic. Because I simply could not be that great parent that I was when this all started. I was hardly a parent at all.
I was crying everyday. I was physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually depressed. Exhausted. I could barely stand one day. I gave everything I had to my son during our 6 week stretch together, and I nothing left for me.
Instead of having fun times outside, playing catch in the yard, making each day's dose of schoolwork fun, preparing healthy meals, stretching and dance parties, laughing and singing, incorporating physical therapy into his activities, etc, etc, etc, I laid down.
I laid in my bed. I laid on the couch. I curled up in the fetal position on the shore when he threw rocks.
"I'm so sorry, Brady P," I would tell him. "Mama just can't get up right now."
And I could only get up for necessary biological functions for the both of us.
Once I hit day two of that depression, I knew I had to make a change.
Neither him or I deserved to live like that, and it wasn't going to get better under the current circumstances.
Pandemic or not, he was going somewhere safe where he could get the attention and stimulation he deserves.
And I could sleep. Or go out for that golden hour walk in the evenings. Or listen to my favorite songs uninterrupted while doing the dishes uninterrupted. Or work on my art without getting yelled at. And so many other things that I could just do... if I wanted to.
Last night's golden hour... because I can!
I am much better now, and he is great.
I am so excited to see him in a few days. This time to myself has been healing and, dare I say it, much deserved.
I have gotten over the guilt I felt for not being able to take care of him like he deserves. And I feel lighter. Even bearing that guilt made me heavier.
So why am I telling you this? Why am I publicizing the fact that I felt I failed at my most important job?
Because, chances are, I'm not the only one with struggles. I am not the only one who felt guilty for the fact that I couldn't do it all like I could when this all started. I am not the only one who needs a break from the fear we are fed and a chance to feel like things are okay and that life will go on.
You probably feel that way, too. And do you know what?
It's okay to not be able to do all. It's really okay. Even taking a break from one seemingly never-ending task to do something different helps immensely. Not only is variety the spice of life, it's essential.
How about that?
So please go easy on yourself, and do your best until you need a break. Hopefully you have someone you trust to help you with your own needs -- whatever they may be. But recognizing them is necessary.
Okay, my best goes out to you. Thanks for being a good person.