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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Overload

I have been running at level 6 on a scale of 5.  My brain seems to focus and my emotions feel fried.

There are too many balls in the air for even this practiced juggler to catch!

A wedding and a baby shower are in the works.  Each event alone requires seemingly hundreds of decisions.  And inevitably, as in my last post, when there are events, there are little dramas.

Some dramas are bigger than others, potentially life changing.  To deal with the fall out of my invitation decisions, I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of friendship as an adult, particularly the nature of friendship for a stay-at-home mom to an autistic child.  Being the parent of special needs child means belonging to a very isolating world.  Our children keep us busy running from one therapy to the next, juggling meetings and reports and paperwork until there doesn’t seem much room for anything else.  For me and Connor, I keep trying to add to our already busy schedule.  I want to keep moving Connor forward towards our ultimate goal of mainstreaming.  I need to keep pushing him, keep trying new activities, new therapies, new ideas until we strike upon something that works for him.  And although this is best for Connor, it doesn’t really allow me to develop friendships with the other parents.

Most other parents of special needs children are dealing with the same issues, and the same potential social explosions from their own children.  Play dates have to be carefully coordinated and can be easily cancelled if a child’s behaviors are out of control that day.  Sure I have time to myself during the day, but who else does?  My Pilates classes are filled with retirees!

So time to seek out activities that will make me joyful!  I’ve signed up to volunteer with a few programs, as well as subscribe to a book club.  But not immediately since I’m in the midst of planning a shower and a wedding as well as parenting my autistic child!  And round and round we go until I feel just about to explode!

To top it all off my great-uncle passed away.  Nearly 90 and suffering excruciating pain due to cancer, he is much better off in the arms of our Lord than he was dwelling here on earth.  And though it’s hard to develop a close relationship with a man who devoted his life to serving the Lord, as well as his brothers and sisters, he was still a man I loved and respected.  He baptized me, he blessed me, he carried God’s love to me throughout my entire life.  And I miss him.  I will miss him.  I will miss him.  I will miss him until I join with him again one day in God’s presence.

So today while my flu infected son naps, I take a little time to just let myself feel everything and I don’t try to stop the tears.

A Question of Kindness

When planning a wedding there is bound to be some drama. Feelings will be hurt, words that were said cannot be unsaid, and friendships are tested. I just had no idea that this time around the pain would be largely mine.

A dear friend of mine is married to a man whose behavior at events (and in any social setting really) has been inappropriate to say the least. He is not an ideal wedding guest. For this and a variety of other reasons, my fiance did not want this man to attend our wedding. I cannot say that I blame him, nor did my feelings truly differ. The question then became what was I to do about it?

There was no longer an issue of this man attending. Even if I had longed for him to be there, my fiance did not want that. That’s really what it comes down to: do I choose the feelings of a friend or the feelings of my fiance? If I didn’t put the feelings of my fiance first then there wouldn’t really be any point in us getting married. We have compromised to make this wedding as small as possible while still including a vast array of friends and family, I could not begrudge him this request, especially since in my heart I felt the same way.

So what to do about it? Here were my options:

1. Not invite the couple

2. Talk to my friend and explain

I would love to be the kind of person who could just not invite them. I would love to take the path of least resistance, the path of passive aggression. But it’s not in my nature to do that.

I know first hand that passive aggression is just as, if not more, hurtful that confrontation. The questions of why? the confusion, the wounded feelings are not something I wanted to impart to my friend. This woman has been a dear dear friend to me and has supported me through exceptionally tough times. My decision regarding her spouse’s attendance had nothing to do with her and everything to do with him. The least I could do was tell her that.

I was thus left with the only option left: confrontation.

I feel like many people assume confrontation means fighting or yelling, when in reality it’s just a straightforward expression of feelings and thoughts. There will most likely be hurt feelings but both sides will have been honest. I worried then about the words I would choose. I worried that I would fatally wound our friendship. I worried that I might never get a chance to speak another word to this woman who I loved so very much. Just the thought of hurting my friend made my stomach turn and my heart beat faster. I knew the risks I was taking by confronting her about the issue and I still had no choice but to go ahead.

After we had dinner one night I explained my position, emphasizing as much as possible my love and respect for my friend, my desire to keep our friendship alive, my hope that she would still attend but coupled with my understanding that she might choose not to do so.

I guess that what a big part of this came down to: I wanted to give her the choice. She could attend or not attend. She could maintain our friendship or not. She could choose to stand my her husband just as I was choosing to stand by my fiance.

Nothing about that conversation felt good. My heart ached, my body rebelled and tears involuntarily welled in my eyes. It broke my heart to break hers.

Since that day I have questioned and requestioned my actions. I have been attacked by friends who sought to defend our friend. I have felt abandoned by other in the wake of one of the toughest moral decisions I’ve had to make. And even though I have played and replayed and examined ever possible angle, I don’t know that I would have done anything differently.

It comes down to a question of kindness. Was it kinder for me to be honest? Would it have been kinder to exclude the couple all together? Should I truly have been kinder to my fiance than my friend?

As always when I am faced by these types of decisions, I ask my self what would Christ have me do? What is the Christian thing to do in this situation?

I’ve been struggling to come up with an answer. I have prayed and reflected. I have discussed it with my fiance and my therapist. I have borne the ache in my chest that I have lost my friend and I truly don’t know what the Christian thing to do was. I loved as best I could and caused pain as little as possible. That will have to be enough for now.

Don’t Kill the DJ

To say I obsess and I worry is a bit of an understatement.  When I get started on a project it often becomes all-consuming.  I mull it over as I’m walking the dogs, make notes while waiting during Connor’s therapy, rehearse parts of it in the shower.  It, whatever the project is, is always on my mind.

Planning the playlist for my DIY wedding is no exception.

We are not hiring a DJ, it’s not in the budget.  So I’m making a playlist.  And obsessing about it.

It’s on my phone now, so I can listen to it in the car and edit it.

I scour websites daily for advice on the best slow songs, the most requested dance songs, the best ratio of slow songs to fast songs.  I’ve read every article on the best playlists of 2012 I could find.  And even though I think I’ve finally finished editing and compiling it, I’m extremely nervous.

So here’s my strategy:

Start the dancing with fast, fun songs that are pretty universally known, from a variety of decades. 

I am doing roughly 15 fast songs to a set of 3 slow songs

I’m ending the night with songs that might be more favored by a younger crowd (ie more hip hop and some old school B.I.G. and Tupac).

Here are my problems:

Should I have more slow songs?

Is the entire list, equalling 3.5 hours of music, to long?

There are 3 songs with curse words in them, should I eliminate those all together?

Thoughts, comments, suggestions, all welcome.  Seriously, any help would be appreciated!  I don’t want anyone to be complaining about the dj.

Quick Plans

Well my wedding is in just two short months.  It was originally planned for May, but my fiance and I decided that we’d rather my sister didn’t go into labor at the reception, so we’ve moved it to March.  And I’m totally fine.  And everything is under control.  And I’m breathing…

And I’m a little overwhelmed!

I was doing fine until I made the to do list this morning.  It has 50-some items on it!  As Connor would say, “WHAT THE HECK, MIKE?!?!”

But it’s ok…it’s ok…shhhhhh…..it’s going to be fine….

So you’ll excuse me if my posts are somewhat sporadic for the next two months, I’ve got a few things to do….

At least I can cross one thing off my list this morning!  The invitations are done!

We’ve decided on a book theme for the wedding, since the fiance and I are both big readers.  The motto of the reception is “A New Chapter” since this is a new beginning for both of us.  We’re moving away from the past and starting the next phase in our lives.  Yay!

Everything at the reception will be done in book pages, typewriter type, and pops of color here and there.  Since I’m a librarian, library items will be a constant.

Take the invitations for example:

I used library due date book cards and card pockets (the card pockets cost $10 and the cards were $14.00).  Based on research, I designed the invitations myself.  Here’s the result:

libraryweddinginvites

I really love them!  Plus they cost me about $0.50 each!  Perfect!

So that’s done…sort of of.  I just need to create the labels, stuff the envelopes and get them in the mail.  Easy peasy!

Then I can move on to the other 49 items on my list.

 

Warmth

When I was awoken today by a warm stream of pee in my face, I tried not to take it as an omen.  I really, really tried to rationally accept that these things happen and not view it as the cherry on top of an incredibly challenging week.

As a mother I have been peed on in the past, of course, as all parents have been at some point.  There was the infant pee that decorated my clothing, the toddler pee that sprang out when diapers were pulled off, and of course preschooler potty training pee.  All of these I accepted as part of my training as a parent.  They were stories I shared with millions of other parents.  There were badges of honor…almost.

But this morning, when I was awoken from a deep disturbing dream about Connor’s therapist confessing he wasn’t sure about the choices he’d made in his life (my subconscious is confusing), I just couldn’t accept this pee with the same nonchalance.

Some time around 3 am, Connor crawled into bed with me and began taking his pajamas off.  I sleepily (and wrongly) assumed this was because he had perhaps wet himself or just finished using the bathroom.  I didn’t really care, honestly, I just wanted to go back to sleep.  Connor’s nudity doesn’t phase me as it’s his prefered state of being.  He wanted to be naked in bed?  Fine.  Just let me go back to sleep.

In the three hours between then and 6 am Connor managed to work his way up the bed so that his body was wedged between the pillows and his head was pressed against the headboard.  At just after 6 this morning, Connor’s little penis was aimed perfectly at my face just in time for him to pee on my left eye, cheek, and nose.

Thankfully my subconscious didn’t translate this peeing into something in my dream like a warm shower or a squirt gun fight, but alerted me right away and allowed me raise my hand to block that warm steady stream after just a few seconds.  However, in my opinion, that was a few seconds too many.

Considering how I’d awoken, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the morning that followed.  After I got out of bed to wash my face, I decided it was safer to go sleep in the guest room where, although the sheets were cold, the bed was dry.  I wanted to catch just a few more minutes of sleep before wrestling Connor into the school routine after a two-week absence.  But Connor sensed my absence and came looking for me.  Apparently walking naked around the cold house was enough to wake him up, since he proceeded to climb in bed with me and snap the straps of my camisole while I tried to sleep.  Awesome.

But you know what, I got him out of the house and on the bus.  I’ve walked the dogs already.  Now I get to spend my day doing laundry in silence and watching reruns of Law and Order, while Connor struggles through his first day of school in 2013.

It may not be very nice or parent-like to say this, but neener neener neener!