Monday, January 14, 2008
Just Doing It
MMC from the blog Free Falling made the comment to me last week about parenting multiple children with disabilities, “Quite frankly, I don't know how you do it. Although I do think I know your likely response. You just do it. Because you don't have any choice.”
She’s right – as parents, especially parents of children with disabilities, we have no choice. We take care of our children – period – no matter what the cost to ourselves. My choice came when I decided to adopt children with significant disabilities. At that point in time, I accepted the fact that my life was no longer my own – it belonged to my children. There are many rewards to parenting children with disabilities, rewards I am so thankful that I have known. But, there are also some very difficult times.
While most days present challenges, the absolute worst times for me happen when I get sick. As some of you know, I have Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. So when I get sick, I don’t get just a little bit sick. I get rip roaring, feel like you want to die sick. It’s the kind of sick that would send most people to their beds, the kind of sick where someone takes you to the doctor because you feel you shouldn’t drive, the kind of sick where friends bring you soup because you are unable to even cook for yourself, the kind of sick that makes you wonder if you really will recover. The problem for me is even when I am that sick, I must continue with my responsibilities. I don’t have the luxury of going to bed or not driving or not cooking. My children must still eat and must still make their doctor and therapy appointments. While I usually can find one or two people to help with the children for some portion of the day, the evenings, nights and weekends are almost exclusively mine. And like MMC said, I just do it.
I do my best to not get sick in the first place. The folks I work with call me a germaphobe. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk at all times, and if I am away from my desk, I have a little tube of the same stuff with me. If anyone in my office has the sniffles, I close my office door and have them send messages under the door to me. I take vitamins every day, and am religious about following my other medication schedules. I try to get adequate rest, but that’s kind of a joke in my family. I eat right, and get a little bit of exercise (my arthritis prevents too much exercise). Even with all that prevention, I do still get sick sometimes. But I just have to keep going.
No matter how sick I feel, or even if I hold a nice little pity party for myself, I would be sick every day of my life if it meant my children never had to be sick. I said earlier that the absolute worst times for me happen when I get sick. I lied – the absolute worst times are when my children get sick.