The school year has come to an end. We survived our first year in our new state and in our new schools. While most parents get excited that the longer days of summer are quickly approaching I for one almost dread it. Summer means all the children will be home 24/7 and this year, this summer will be the first summer I will be without the help of my older two kids. Lord give me guidance for I am in uncharted territory.
Let me start off by saying, my kids are my world, anyone that knows me knows this to be true. However I have one child with RAD and ADHD and one with autism and three under the age of four. Sometimes, most of the time, their is no peace in the house if they are all together.
We have reached the point where our almost seven year old (RAD) notices that our six year old (autistic) does not have to do the same things she does and does not have the same consequences she does. This has become a daily problem for her. And to be honest how do you explain to a seven year old that her brother is treated different because of his disability? All she shes is that he does not get in trouble for things like she does. We try our best to be fair but we are human so I am sure we have messed up from time to time. We have been out of school for four days now and the time out chair is already getting its workout in. And don’t get me started on her thoughts about the other three little ones. I know its not her, I know its all the pain from her birth parents, I know she takes it out on me because in her eyes I replaced her mom so therefore I am as bad as she is, but man some days are hard.
Last summer, I was fortunate to have our oldest daughter with us. She came down after her junior semester was over and helped us get settled in to the new house. It was nice having an extra set of hands during the day. She does so well with all of them, especially with our wild man. The two of them can spend hours together lining up his cars or playing with his Lego’s. She is his favorite thing in the whole wide world. He feels safe to just be himself around her. With her here I was able to take care of our other little ones. Of course there were days that meltdowns happened, but having someone else here to help buffer was a blessing. I already miss her this summer.
My husband helps when he can, however he is the one that provides for us. He works a 40 hour a week job that normally turns into closer to 50 or 60 a week. By the time he gets in he is exhausted. He comes home most nights around 7pm sometimes later but rarely at the 5 o’clock hour. He helps with baths and helps get them to bed. He is looking forward to our family vacation to the beach in a few weeks. I wish I could say the same.
Vacation to most means relaxation, fun, sleeping in, dinning out at new places, and taking a moment for yourself. Vacationing for me makes me anxious. The packing and repacking. The food list. The activities to take for the car ride, the 7 hour car ride. I know wild man’s sleep pattern will be off because he will not be in his own bed. It will be days before he gets a good night sleep if it happens at all. I will spend the first few hours at the house we rented child proofing and making sure he can’t hurt himself and making sure our three little ones can’t get into anything either. I will check and recheck the locks on the doors to makes sure he can’t get out. I will make sure the fence around the yard does not have any holes he can dig under. I will stock up on stage two Gerber peas, because those are his comfort food and we will need his comfort food when he realizes we are spending the night in the strange house. I will end up in the same room with him and baby girl I’m sure because when they wake up in the middle of the night they will not know where they are and instead of them trying to find me in the strange to them house it will just be easier for me to sleep in the extra twin bed. Correction I will not sleep that week, for I am sure he will not sleep. If he does mange sleep we will be up at his normal 4AM, autism does not sleep in even on vacation. We will not go out to new restaurants for dinner or lunch because the noise will be much to loud for him to handle. And as for a moment to myself, well I have five little ones I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself. I am thankful our oldest son is going with us. The kids(and I) miss him not living here so it will be nice to have him with us for a week.
As for Diva she will be in heaven for her daddy and grandparents will be with us. I know that the first day or so will be fine for she will be on her best behavior, like she always does around them. I know though her behaviors will surface. They always do. Unless you live with RAD everyday you can’t understand the struggle’s we face daily. The mood swings, the screaming, the always fighting are real and painful. What if I’m not enough for them by myself this summer? What if they need more of me than I can be? I really miss home in times like this. My parents, friends, and in-laws. Here its just me. I hope we can survive summer vacation.
My prayer is that God will show me the way to make the most of this summer. That He will show me how to be the best mom to each of my kids. They all have pasts, they all of troubles and yet God chose me to be their momma. Maybe He sees something in me that I don’t see. Most days I think I’m an okay mom. Some days however I know I’m not so great. I don’t want to be perfect just better.
Earlier today I read a blog “Eighteen summers: It’s all we get, so this is my promise to you” over at simpleasthatblog.com And it got me thinking. With my oldest daughter I had 21 full summers, with my oldest son 17. Time does go by so quickly. I’m not going to lie and say that I am excited now to go on vacation since I read this blog, but I will say it opened my eyes. I do want to see baby girl’s eyes when she sees the ocean for the first time. I want to watch the boys run freely on the beach with the sand between their toes. I want to hear the giggles and laughter coming from their rooms as my husband tucks them into bed each night. I want to steal a moment under the stars with my head on his shoulder and breathe in all that God as blessed us with. We will survive we always do, sometimes it just takes a little more work and patience to get to the end.
From our beautiful chaos to yours. Summer can be hot, long and hard. Not everyday will be sunshine. God washes us with the rain from the storms.