I feel worn down from this self isolation marathon and on some days, it is hard to remember the many positives.
What I find so difficult is this unsustainable balance to work and take care and school our T. Two very different full time jobs compressed into time allowed for one.
The level of anxiety, guilt and scatteredness I feel on a daily basis is overwhelming. I try to focus on the tasks, because there is no use complaining as it wastes the already little time and energy I have.
“Grateful to be alive, healthy, employed and have a roof over our heads” is often my go-to reminder that we are blessed. But even saying this on some days feels forced when I feel so fed up.
But then I look at T, our happy go lucky five year old sweetheart who has a cheerful and innocent outlook of the world.
Our T has a prognosis of at-risk FASD and individuals with FASD, for all the challenges they face, also have a spirit of tenacity. As T’s school youth worker tells us, every day is a new day for those with FASD.
No matter how hard the previous day was, no matter if our evening ended with tears, T wakes up every morning with a smile and cleared slate.
And I am so grateful for that.
For all the hand holding T needs to stay focused on a task – it wouldn’t surprise us if he gets at least an ADHD diagnosis – he is so attuned to our emotions.
When I sprained my left leg two weeks ago and I felt crippled and was bedridden for a weekend – and the mind feared COVID-19 – T showed genuine care and empathy. He calmed down and came into my room to ask how I was doing with a genuine look of concern on his face.
A week or so ago, I sat on a chair in our living room and rested the back of my head against the wall and closed my eyes. He sat next to me. I told him I was tired. He disappeared for a few seconds and came back with a cup of water for me. I gave him a big tight hug and kiss on his head.
We started our evening family walks again. As he often does, during a recent walk, he got tired by the end and asked the hubby to carry him. He then leaned towards me and wrapped his left arm around my neck, his right arm wrapped around the hubby and gave us both a tight squeeze as we walked the final steps towards our home.
On a recent Friday afternoon, after I had packed my work away, T and I were putting our shoes on to go for a walk. Out of the blue, he said to me in a soft sweet voice, “Papa, you’re my hero.”
After the long week that I had, I really needed that. I gave him a big hug and told him that he was my hero. And he really is.
It’s hard to believe it’s only been eight weeks that we’ve been in self isolation. I am so worn down from this gauntlet of work and child care that it’s sometimes hard to put into perspective just how fortunate we are to be healthy, employed and together as a family.
For all the anxiety, guilt and scatteredness that T often causes, he is the one that puts everything into perspective for me.
The hubby took him out for a walk this recent Friday afternoon. T took the opportunity to do six continuous front rolls down the hill in the field behind our home.
Watching the hubby’s short but amusing video of the incident later put an important lesson into crystal clarity for me: When the world feels upside down, do what T does – just roll with it and you will eventually find yourself right side up again.