As I sit here anxiously awaiting Timothy’s first day of Playschool tomorrow I know deep down what I’m most anxious about.
Timothy is our last baby. The last “firsts” we will experience with a child of our own. And although there were many times I wished we were “on track” with other kids, I relished the extra time I got with Timothy needing me. I got to carry him a little bit longer and to snuggle him to sleep just those few extra times. I got to drag out the last of our firsts.
Now everything is about to change. I’ve seen it coming the past few months. The leaps and bounds forward Timothy has made. And it’s amazing, truly. But it’s scary too.
Playschool is going to open so many doors for Timothy. The help and services he will receive is what we’ve hoped for these past 2 years. But it also means that he is about to grow into a little boy, the last traces I have of my baby slowly going away.
I know that now comes the growing up, the independence, the need for me a little bit less. I know that now comes the letting go.
It is time for a new beginning. Today we get our keys for our first owned home together and we start a new chapter in a new place.
We will be saying goodbye to the home we have lived in for the past three years. The place we brought Timothy home to. The home where we went through the journey to his diagnosis and the first 2 years of life with a child that has a disability. This is the place we grieved for his future and the place we came to accept a new future for him. This house has been filled with some of the lowest moments of our marriage but it has also been filled with love, perseverance, commitment, and growth in our marriage.
As we’ve been leading up to this move I’ve been thinking about how much our life is going to change. Although we aren’t moving far from the city, as I started to set things up I realized we will have a whole new schedule and routine. There will be a shift in our everyday life. And although this change has been months in the making it will happen in a way that is all at once.
Hailey will be attending a new school in a different school board. Coming with it new bell times, new bussing, new teachers and new kids. Charlotte will be attending a dayhome once a week, the first time she won’t be babysat by my family. And Timothy will be plopped in a completely new environment where at first everything will feel like a threat to his safety.
Of course all of those changes have a flip side too. Hailey will attend school with most of the same kids all the way through grade 12 and has a chance to make life lasting friendships. Charlotte will get a chance to socialize with other kids more before kindergarten and experience more independence. And once Timothy learns his space it will be his to keep since we won’t be living on a year to year lease.
See there are two sides to the story as there often is. Something I’ve been working on learning since Timothy’s diagnosis is that positive and negative feelings can coexist. It definitley doesn’t come naturally because it is confusing to feel tinges of sadness over a happy situation. And with the move it has been hard to navigate these coexisting feelings.
Most of the time I am so excited. It’s all I can think about and all I want to do is plan out the home decor in my head. But sometimes a little fact hits me and has me in tears. Like the fact we won’t see Grandpa everyday at school pick up, or the fact Hailey is nervous about having no friends, or the realization that if James is still working away I will be very alone now that I live farther from my parents.
I find it hard to express these negative feelings because I never want to make it seem like I am unhappy with our decision or not excited to meet this BIG goal of ours. Of course I’m happy and excited but I’m nervous and maybe a bit scared too.
I need to honor those negative feelings so that when we go to pick up those keys this afternoon I can fully appreciate the positives of this new chapter.
This is a goal years in the making and we have finally reached it. Buying a house was always important to us but after Timothy’s diagnosis it became the highest priority. We wanted a place he could get comfortable in that we didn’t have to leave. We wanted to be able to make adjustments for him. And it was important for us for the girls to have a steady home growing up. We’ve moved with Hailey three times before this and didn’t want to have to keep doing that to her, especially now that she is in school. We wanted a place Charlotte could make friends and feel comfortable enough to talk and participate in her environment. I know that the community and town we chose will make all of these things possible for us. And I am excited to live somewhere different, I’ve never moved out of the city I was born in. I think that this will be a new chapter in our family unit that will help us grow closer together.
These are positives feelings I need to honor.
Sometimes in life we get to caught up in how we are supposed to feel about things that we can’t even figure out how we really feel. But life isn’t black and white. This week has been full of grey areas. I’ve switched between sad and happy tears, excitement and anxiety. And although it can be confusing and feel wrong, It’s all a part of the journey.
I don’t really know why. Something about the colors and the perfect temperatures. Something comforting about Thanksgiving dinner and crinkly leaves.
2020 needed Fall. This year has been so difficult already, it needed a touch of magic.
I was anticipating Fall all summer, I felt like making it into that season would just help this year be better.
But then life happened.
Fall showed up. But the magic did not.
My marriage was tested and boy did I ever feel like I was failing that test.
We started marriage counselling. Which actually wasn’t as scary as people make it sound. (So don’t be afraid to try it!)
But I struggled this season. I’m still struggling. I’m a young mother of three. I have a child with a disability. It often feels like outsiders are just waiting for the day when I fall apart. The pressure to have it all together feels heavy and at times unattainable.
And just as I was trying to catch my breath, my husband was out of a job.
Out of everything going on in our lives at the moment, his job was the one constant.
Losing that stability in an instant shook me. The weeks that followed were filled with stress, uncertainty, tension, and fear.
We are lucky enough to be okay financially, because we were saving to buy our first home. A dream that was a mere weeks away was suddenly put on an indefinite hold in a matter of minutes.
Everything felt hard.
The opportunities for work were there but nothing that kept us where we wanted to be for our future. Other than one.
A camp job where my husband would live away from us for 2 weeks at a time.
This type of job is not something I ever wanted for my family. I’m the kind of person who values eating dinner together as a family at night, hugging and kissing our kids goodnight, going to bed together.
I felt like everything I thought I knew about the future had disappeared in a matter of 6 weeks.
How did I get from playing at the playground with our kids in our would be future neighborhood to living alone 3 weeks of the month? Nothing felt right anymore.
Everything was falling apart. And as much as I tried to keep up the appearance of normal, there were cracks in the mask. I didn’t have much to say, I wasn’t keeping up with my appointments, I would make plans for things that I never ended up finishing.
So that is why I am here sharing all of this now. I don’t want to wear a mask anymore.
I’m just a person. Trying to be a wife. Trying to be a mom. Trying to navigate having a child with a disability. Trying to navigate the medical system.
And most importantly…
Trying to believe that next year Fall will have it’s magic back again.
Thank you for reading and allowing me to share our story.
This past week the whole world turned upside down.
In a matter of a few days my jam packed March/April schedule was completely cleared and I now had to home school Hailey for the rest of her grade 1 year. Though I know I should be happy to have cleared up my schedule I’m instead struggling with it because as I had said in a previous post these appointments are my new normal.
Personally these dramatic changes made my anxiety scream. I felt my mental load getting heavier. Now I have the responsibility to keep my daughter on track with school from home, and all of Timothy’s therapies are on hold so it is up to me to make sure he doesn’t fall too far behind on development. On top of that is my normal everyday stuff like laundry, dishes, dinner, etc.
Oh yeah and I need to find ways to entertain all three children without being able to go anywhere…
One of the hardest parts for me was realizing we had to cancel Timothy’s first birthday party. This was hard for me on several levels. Firstly, both of the girls got big fun first birthday parties but with Timothy we almost didn’t plan one because sometimes crowds are too overwhelming for him, but after talking with other special needs parents we decided to have one because he is just as special and worthy of celebrating as the girls were. Secondly, we aren’t planning to have any more children and in a sense this party was my goodbye to the baby years. I put a lot of thought into making his party special for him and having to cancel it was a little heartbreaking.
Aside from my disappointment with the party, being a stay at home mom for the past year I have already felt quite isolated as most of my outings are to appointments or have to do with the kids. Now that I have no outings or appointments and to have to stay home entirely is pretty tough. We are lucky that my husband is still working because at least we don’t have financial stress added and he actually has more hours now, but at the same time it can be quite lonely not being around other adults all day.
These are crazy times in the world and it looks like the safety measures in place will be sticking around for at least a couple months.
Luckily I am no stranger to my life changing in a matter of days so I know that I can and will adapt to the situation. Now that the first week has passed and I’ve had some time to process these changes I am going to start focusing on what I can do to feel okay while the whole world is in panic mode. I thought maybe I would share some of what I am doing on here in hopes it can help someone else get through this hard season.
I have found it quite important and essential during all of this to make sure I am taking a break from reading news updates online or even thinking about everything going on. There is a balance between being informed and needlessly obsessing over the news. I limit myself to one or two updates a day. I usually only watch our provincial update but sometimes I will watch the Canadian one as well. As far as the kids go I am keeping them in routine with normal wake up times, nap times, and bedtimes but outside of that we have no set schedule. Hailey is only in grade one so we don’t stress about not doing school work every day and besides there is lots of learning that can take place without a classroom. Our main focus is enjoying the extra sister time the little ones get and keeping things positive. Losing school and all your friends is pretty tough for kids. Hailey came to me this week crying that she missed her before school hot chocolates with Grandpa. She is only six years old and all this sudden change is hard and confusing for her. So like I said we focus on keeping it positive; we get extra time together to learn, to play, to watch movies, to bake, this is a special period of time that most don’t get with their school aged children. For myself I am doing my best to stay connected with friends and family through texting and other virtual means as well as take some self care time in the evening when my husband is home.
These are just some of the things I have started doing to get through this crazy time and I am not perfect at them; I still get negative, I get frustrated with the kids, I get mad at the situation, and I get upset. The world changed so quickly and we are only human so all kinds of emotions are bound to happen. The most important thing is that we will get through this.