Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Groundhog Day

I get this weird feeling that I have posted this picture before.

I took Lyd up to Boston Children's hospital for her yearly check-up with the neurologist yesterday.

As far as visits to Children's hospitals go, it's actually a pretty fun day. We take a very scenic route through Dedham and along the Charles river to get there. I think it's Dedham..I always forget the names until I start driving.

I had a minor anxiety attack while turning onto Brookline Avenue. I had to tell Lyd to stop talking so that I could focus on city driving, but really it was so I could focus on calming myself before I really freaked out.

My eldest child has disabilities both physical, which are minor, and mental, which will make it so she will either have to live with me or another family member, or in some sort of assisted living for the rest of her life.

In the grand scheme of things I am terribly fortunate. She can do many things to take care of herself. She can talk, she can spend time by herself at home. She can read, She could get out of the house if there was a fire and deal with strangers appropriately.

I of course find myself often mired in thoughts of what she cannot do. Which is actually not all that much if you really dissect it. But, she does not live the life of your average 18 year old, and that makes me sad. She is happy in her life though.

I also work with adults with autism and other things. Having a child of my own in the same situation gives me a good perspective, especially when dealing with families. I am in the club with them. I totally get where they are coming from because I am there too.

It's funny, working where I do and having my own child with similar challenges sometimes makes me feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. My daughter and my clients all talk about the same things and do the same things day in and day out. It's the same old record played over and over. It's the nature of the beast. It can make you want to bang your head against the wall sometimes.

My anxiety attack stemmed from recently having to deal with some health related issues arising at my work. It is a challenge to meet the needs of the clients sometimes, emotional and physical. As my clients get older, their needs change and all in all it is an enormous responsibility. Unfortunately, not all of the people I supervise see it the same way, which is very frustrating and does not make my job any easier.

Taking that left onto Brookline Ave, I began to think of being in that position 30 years from now, with my own daughter aging. I began to worry about whether her needs would be met, where she would be and who the fuckwads responsible for her well-being would be. It all came crashing on me in a huge wave of panic.

By the time I parked the car I was under control again, the appointment went well and we had lunch and were back on the highway heading home.

I began to get very sleepy, so I asked Lyd for her bag of chips that she saved from lunch, thinking that eating them would wake me up and I could get another bag for her when we got home.

Lyd was very angry about having to share her chips. My promise of more chips of the same variety later on was met with open hostility, much huffing and angry body jerks. She said that they didn't sell Salt & Vinegar Cape Cod chips in Rhode Island.
I replied that that was bullshit.

I was surprised at her response. I was surprised at how angry I got. I screamed at the top of my lungs and flung the half eaten bag of chips at her lap.

Not a very good parenting moment. I think that it was my earlier anxiety resurfacing, bringing with it several other things that have been bothering me. Then I took it all out on her and what I perceived as my kid being a selfish jerk.

We got home and she went up to her room to lie in bed and sulk. I went to the store and bought a large bag of Salt & Vinegar chips and refilled her empty bag that I threw on the floor of the car. I apologized to her. It still took her an hour or so to stop sulking, but in the end she came downstairs and we all laughed about the silliness of the whole event. All over a small bag of chips.

Here is another surprising thing that took me a while to realize.
To me they were a measly little bag of potato chips, but to my daughter, who has trouble seeing that far into the future, they were a very very big thing. Giving them up really sucked. I had forgotten that despite having a happy life for the most part, her life is small compared to the rest of us. For her, giving up a little bag of chips is equivalent of having a car break down.

Next time, I'll get my own bag of chips to say the least. The big fight we had was over a small thing but I think it was a surprisingly normal occurance between mothers and daughters. I will try to not scream so loud next time.

And yet, I was surprised at how therapeutic it was to just yell like that. My stomach hurt for awhile after it and it was followed by a sense of euphoria. I let it all out and what was left was a blissful emptiness. I was so calm for the rest of the day and night.

Fuck it. I think I will scream like that more often. But in the privacy of my car or in my room, muffled by a pillow so that my family won't think I'm a complete lunatic.

Thanks for reading. I'll send you off on a lighter note.

I have been really trying to out-do myself with the Elf on the Shelf placement this year. Yesterday I put Steve, the Homicidal Christmas Elf, in the bathroom. V was startled to discover him in there while he was peeing first thing in the morning. V made me cover him with a facecloth because Steve watching him urinate was freaking him out.

Creepy isn't he?

Steve is now dubbed Steve the Homicidal Christmas Pervert. But I didn't tell my kids that name because I'd rather wait a few years before having to explain what a pervert is.

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