Time Stops for No Mom
One of the hardest things about being a parent is reconciling your relationship with time. When you have both typical and special needs children time can get even more complicated. Parents of typical kids want to slow down time as best as they can and in some instances, stop it from passing all together. Parents of children with special needs find themselves in situations where time cannot pass fast enough and the dichotomy between the two can create quite a dilemma. It forces you to take a moment and contemplate the relentless reality of time.
It has been almost ten years since I received my daughter’s diagnosis and I continue to struggle with intermittent episodes of complex and complicated states of grief. It Is not the same potent and all-consuming grief I experienced a decade ago, however, it is a subtle emotion that seems to rise to the surface with each new loss I experience. These past few weeks I have been grieving more than usual. Surprisingly, it’s not about Sydney and her SMS but rather all my other losses that have come as a result of it, particularly my relationship with my boys. To cope with many of the difficult aspects of SMS I had been wishing time away so that I would get to an easier place with it all – but by doing that I rushed through so much time with my boys; time I can never get back. Rarely do people discuss the loss you have with your typical kids. For 10 years, I grieved the loss of what SMS took from me in terms of a typical daughter but not the time it robbed from me with my typical boys.
My boys were 4 and 5 when their sister was diagnosed. Our life got turned upside down and my husband and I took on a divide and conquer approach. While it insured that their needs were always met, unfortunately it meant that sometimes my husband and I would miss out on some key moments in their lives. Each of us missed out on sporting events, open school nights, award ceremonies, and chorus concerts. We missed doing things as a family since my daughter simply could not handle going to movies, restaurants, parties, and even traveling vacations. During this time, I didn’t allow myself to really focus on what I was missing as I was too much in the trenches of SMS. The truth was that I was so afraid of what SMS was doing to my daughter and to our life that I just couldn’t allow myself to realize what I was missing. Walking that fine line between special needs mom and typical mom was tough. My daughter required intense constant supervision and it literally took up all my time. It was impossible for me to be in both places at once. I took comfort knowing that my boys always had one of their parents ready and available to them as needed.
In my very first blog I wrote that every ten years your life goes through a big renovation and I think that’s what’s happening to me now. Life is changing, my outlook is changing, and what is important to me is changing. 10 years ago, I wanted time to pass and now I just can’t get it to slow down enough. Today my boys are 14 and 15 and I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. I look back to where I was 10 years ago and I was so petrified and paralyzed by SMS. Adrenaline was my fuel back then and my only focus was making sure that SMS did not destroy us.
Today I have put so many pieces back together in my life. I am no longer afraid of SMS, I no longer fear that it will destroy us, and my mind is now available to focus on other things. I am now ready to be more available to my boys, however, now that they are teenagers they are now less available to me. I so desperately want to turn back time but only if I could go back as the person I am today. I want a second chance at being a more present mom to my 4 and 5 year-old boys but I know that’s just not possible. So, I am left grieving once again at what I have missed out on. In time, it will pass and in fact I know this pain I am feeling will likely propel me into making some changes in my relationship with time and how I will treat it for the next 10, 20, 30+ years.
Time keeps moving whether you want it to or not. It never slows down and it never waits for you to catch up. I am in a much better place today to enjoy it and appreciate it and I will no longer rush my way through things, not even a horrible SMS tantrum.