It’s the first day of summer break*. I thought I was doing pretty well this year. Normally, I have panic attacks in the weeks leading up to summer vacation, but I had none of the gripping, choking, I-might-be-having-a-heart-attack moments this year. I did, however, get shorter in temper and I noticed my energy level draining away. Sure signs of circumstantial depression.
But I was going to prevail. My big plan, especially to start off, was to spend the summer in the pool. Do some projects around the house. Read with Rachel and work on some educational goals.
Today, Monday, it rained and poured. Definitely not a pool day. Rachel kept asking for her back pack and the bus. She tried to pack a lunch. She’s bored, but doesn’t want me to do anything with her because it’s not part of the routine. We can’t read because we’re not at school. We can’t write because it’s not her desk at school. I have stuff to do around the house, but those projects won’t help Rachel’s anxiety with her changed routine. And at this point, my anxiety response is taking over, which means I can barely stay awake and I want to sit around stuffing my face with chocolate.
So, we went to the library. Apparently, so did half our town. The noise drowned out some of Rachel’s squeals. At least we weren’t getting the stink eye from the librarians for disturbing the peace (and really, the librarians here and in our last hometown have always been truly kind and accepting toward Rachel. I just worry we are being too loud).
Every book Eldest picked out felt too old for her, and Rachel just wanted to play inside the wooden tree that was filled with toddlers. As Rachel did her usual hooting and spinning movements, people stared. Eldest grouched and stayed away from us. I wanted to collapse into a pile. This was less fun than our last trip to the dentist.
My mind spun. Rachel’s almost 5 feet tall and she looks like a preteen, but she’s mentally way younger than that. If only she were smaller, she would look more appropriate. We would be a part of the crowd instead of having flashing lights overhead saying, “Something different is happening here! Everyone, stare at us!” If only… But I’m only kidding myself. We don’t blend.
Still, I held it together. We even made it through the grocery store with no meltdowns, Mom included. But when we got home and I tried to read to Rachel. I sat in the wrong place, she didn’t know the book, reading is for school and bedtime, and she really just wanted lemonade. She fussed and even screamed while I read. And she asked for lemonade. And she asked for lemonade. Did I say that twice? Yes, but Rachel said it more than that. (And, of course, most of this was detective work on my part because we’re still so far from her being able to speak her mind except for with a few sounds, signs and pictures.)
I finished that stupid book because I was going to finish SOMETHING, but I should be the one who checks it off on my reading chart because I’m the only one who paid attention. I feel like hiding under the bed. The day is only half over.
But…being a mom isn’t about being a wimp, is it? So many times I want to give up, and there are times I do in other areas. But those projects aren’t people.
As I sit here and write and Rachel yells at me for lemonade, I think today is going to have to be a one-foot-forward kind of day. Every journey begins with a single step.
*Obviously it’s no longer the first day of summer for us, but life has been so busy this is the first chance I’ve gotten to get this post out. Obviously, we survived. It rained more, but we got to swim and we adjusted one day at a time. Rachel still asks for the bus, but it isn’t frantic. She just wants to communicate she misses it and wants it to start again. And it must be difficult for her. Not knowing when and if school will start again, not understanding how the big world works.
One day at a time, sweet Rachel. We’ll get through it together.