I’m rising on a point of order
Just when I decided to start writing, it seems as if my world has tilted and requires all my strength including my reserves to get it back on even keel. Suddenly I can’t find time to write as every ounce of me is consumed with just making everyday life run smoothly.
Yet insistently and persistently a couple of ideas are impatiently marinating in my head. Each insisting it should be written first. But NO. Right now I have to bring myself to a point of order:
a. Find a domestic worker/helper as soon as possible. The back story here is that our helper left us suddenly and without warning. I can only deduce that she wasn’t prepared to continue working with someone whose health goes more down than up. That someone being Savannah. So after two weeks of doing as much as I can to keep this home running, I need help! Did I just admit that? Will the sky darken over me? Will a storm erupt around me? Oh wow…I feel the sunlight. The most important people in my life, my inspiration; my husband and children need me alert and engaged. And yes, maybe I can be Wonder Woman (trumpet blares) work full-time; keep house; be the physiotherapist; be the good AAC communication partner; be mom to my special needs, medically complex twenty-one year old; be mom to an almost, not quite fifteen year old; while nursing my son through the longest infection he has had to date. But will I be nice? Will I remember who needs what meds? Will I shout more and talk less? What will they remember about these days? Mmmmmm….got to find that helper.
b. Take better care of my hubby. He hardly sleeps. He wakes all through the night to tend to Savannah and more recently Eli. He arranges his schedule to get me to and from the airport when I travel or to drop or collect children when my mum can’t get them from school. He is my co-conspirator, my best friend and basically the reason why I still appear to be a fairly nice, well-adjusted person. Without him, I can morph into Maleficent combined with a little Captain Barbosa. My darling husband would dispute all of this and say all sorts of kind, beautiful things. And he would say he doesn’t need anything else but me looking after me which brings me to point of order c;
c. Take care of me. So fellow parents of children with complex needs, there is that darn age-old conundrum: Take care of yourselves while checking all the tick boxes on the “absolute must be done” list for our special needs lives to thrive.
As families where someone has special needs we know the stats on divorce, family dysfunction, burn-out etc. People are always too ready to point out those issues which are largely unhelpful to know about.
Here in good old South Africa, and I’m sure many other parts of the world too; we have absolutely no help from the government. We cannot depend on public services for aid with in-home care for a person with special needs.
Nor do we receive any aid for domestic services. Either we do it all ourselves or we work hard to pay people to help us (knowing full well we must be ready at any given moment to step in when they let us down) or we must simply pick our battles: I’ll be a great mother and a mediocre physio coach or a fair communication partner or I’ll just be a good enough cook today…but whatever I’ll be; I’ll be it honestly.
For now that means I’m honestly enjoying snuggling with my son; picking through his delightful, crazy questions. While Savannah listens to the same song for the hundredth time this evening and we both know she will survive without a physio session tonight. The ironing will get done another time and the Whatsapp messages will be answered tomorrow.
Right now, I’m helping someone really important:ME.