Tag Archives: Reinventing Mommy

Easy Like Sunday Morning

by Jeanie, Reinventing Mommy

It is Sunday morning.  I’m leaning back in my chair, feet dangling carelessly in the pool as my hair begins to stick to the back of my neck.  I lift my head towards the sky to soak in the warm glow of the sun as it kisses my forehead.  Under my watchful eye, my boy plays along the water’s edge.  His squeals of delight watching the water pour are bubbling up beneath the surface.  His hands flutter and his mouth drops open in an expression of joy that is so uniquely Jack.  I find my mouth creasing into a smile and find myself in the midst of heaven on earth.

Summer is approaching with a ferocity that seems to be a fact of life in the South.  This time of year, I am taken back to my childhood and the beautiful days of all-too-short summers spent at the beach.

Both sets of my grandparents had beach houses – one on the Florida coast and the other on one of the Georgia barrier islands.  Summers were spent between these two locales embracing all of the sweetness of the season.

I felt so at home on the beach.  As a child, I was an avid body boarder.  I planned excursions down to the beach based on the tidal schedules.  The freedom felt when gravity releases you, as the waves take over, is simply indescribable.  It feels like flying.

I have not gone body boarding in years.  In fact, to do so would probably result in a performance more worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos than ESPN.  Another thing I have not done in years is take a vacation to the beach.  In fact, I haven’t been on vacation since Jack was born.  The closest I have come to the coast since his birth is when I go visit my Dad about once a year.

This bothers Brian very little.  Growing up, his family’s travels took them all over the place, thus they never developed the same loyalty to a particular location or setting.  When it comes to the beach, I think Brian could take it or leave it.

This year promises to be no exception to our hiatus from vacationing.  My husband will be going up to visit family up North, but Jack still has a self-imposed travel ban placed upon us as a family.  The logistics of traveling with Jack, from the change in routine to rescheduling all of his therapies to working around ESY to the questions of “How do we get there with our sanity?” to finding food that he’ll eat and a place where he will sleep, it all wears down on us when we even attempt to plan it.

So, what is a family to do?  Or, in reality, what is this mama to do?

The answer came in Jack’s Easter basket this year – an inflatable swimming pool.  Sure, it’s just big enough for Jack and my feet, but it will do, my friends.

Sunday morning was to be a warm day.  A scorcher nearing 88 degrees.  For the end of April/early May, that’s hot.  To kick off what Mother Nature had decided herself to dub as the unofficial start of summer, I cracked the pool out and warmed up my lungs for what would be an exhausting 30 minutes of inflating the thing.

At least I know my lungs are nice and healthy.

We found a sunny place in the backyard and began to fill the pool.  Now Jack loves playing with water, but he’s very anxious when it comes to actually getting in.  That’s okay, because this mama has all the time in the world. Sunscreen in hand and a couple of lawn chairs to set poolside, we headed outside for a day of sunshine and water play.  We stayed out there all day, only coming inside to eat lunch and dinner and to take a nap.  Jack had his usual meltdowns and transitioning problems that seem to come standard with the lack of structure on the weekends these days, but for a few moments out by that pool, as he was watching the water fall back into the pool from his cup, there was nothing but peace and tranquility.

It was blissful.

Jack loved the water.  The introduction of a few bubbles to the party was what it took to finally coax him into the water, but he refused to bend down or do anything to get himself too wet.  You’ve gotta love those sensory issues.

He played and enjoyed watching the water pour from a cup back into the pool over and over again.  Sure it was a stimmy kind-of activity, but he was enjoying a few moments of peace and sunshine.

As was I.

For a few moments, I could almost imagine myself back at the beach.  The sand warming my toes and the waves gently lapping my feet.  The heat of the sun enveloping me.  The feeling of letting go.  Yet, this was better than the beach could be this year, because my boy was there enjoying it with me.

Later in the day, after I had fixed myself a lovely frozen beverage, I flopped my feet into the water and thought about how perfect that moment was.  My little boy seemed to be having a good time.  I was relaxed.  I leaned my head back and decided that the little “resort” I had created would suit me just fine.

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Jeanie is a former engineer turned stay-at-home wife and mom to an amazing 3-year old little boy on the autism spectrum. After her only child was diagnosed at 24-months with autism and an alphabet soup of special needs, she began to write about life parenting a very young child with special needs with honesty, optimism, and as always, a touch of humor. You can find Jeanie at her regular blog, Reinventing Mommy (http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/).

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Filed under Remembering to Breathe

Running In The Rain

By Jeanie, Reinventing Mommy

I’ve made some changes over the past couple of weeks. I’m spending more time on my writing, trying to make some things happen.

I’ve also gotten my hair cut, a move that the majority of my family may or may not approve of once they see it. It actually aged me a bit, which is good, because I’m a lot older than I look. And yes, I’m typing that with a smile. I know I’ll appreciate my “baby face” when I’m in my 60s.

It had been a while since my hair was this short, since the days at my 9 to 5. Once Jack was born and throwing up all over me on a daily basis, I figured that no hair cut could hide the vomit stains on my clothes and the sour milk smell that hung heavy in the air around my person.

Ironically enough, I think that Jack is really confused by it. For example, take this exchange from when I picked him up at school yesterday:

Me: “Hi, Jack!”
Jack: No response, no eye contact.
Me: Trying to prompt him – “Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm…'”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his private OT’s name)!”
Me: “Nope, I’m not Ms. (OT). Try again. Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm….'”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his preschool teacher’s name)!”
Me: “No, I’m not Ms. (preschool teacher). Jack says, ‘Hi, Mommy!'”

To which Jack looked at me for the first time in this whole exchange, with a look that said, To hell you say! You’re not MY Mommy!
Yeah, that wasn’t my intent by making changes.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that I needed to do some things for me – to make me happy. I need to discover who I am and what I like and want out of my life.

As a means of getting to that goal, I’ve started running again. I used to run when I was younger. Really, my neighborhood is the perfect place to run. It is very hilly around where I live, but my neighborhood sits on a rare oasis of perfectly flat ground. The main street actually loops around the neighborhood, serving almost as a track, if you wish.

I had not gone running since before I got pregnant with Jack, which was in 2008. Once Jack was born, he always had so many needs that it seemed like running was more of a hassle. I thought about getting a treadmill, but they’re just so damned expensive.

That and I far prefer to run outdoors. I like the feeling of the wind on my face. I like the fresh air and the smells of the grass, the various blooms of the season, and the smell of rain as it is coming in.

Much to my neighbors’ confusion, the time you will always see me running is in the rain. I adore running in the rain. As long as there is no thunder and lightning, I don’t let a little thing like precipitation get in my way. I love feeling the rain roll down my skin. I love the slight chill as the wind lashes against my wet skin. I love the solitude, the peace, of the rain. It is so cleansing, as though the rain just washes away all of your cares, your concerns, and your fears.

I can do some of my best thinking in the rain. I basically write out a piece in my head while running. It gives me a chance to really examine myself. What do I like? What do I want? These are questions I’ve never really asked myself, but I feel like I should after all of these years of being so concerned by the answers others would give. Now, I actually am starting to care about what I have to say.

I’m probably happier now than I have been in years…and yes, that’s with an autistic child. He has a long way to go, but he’s made great progress and I feel like we’ve got the right combination of therapies with the right therapists and we will continue to see progress as he continues to work with them in the years to come. I feel confidence in that. I have proven to myself multiple times that I – and I alone – can fight for Jack and make things happen for him. That has been so empowering. I am doing some things just for myself that make me feel good.

You may look at Jack and some of the issues I deal with on a daily basis and feel either sympathy or sadness, but don’t. I’m at a point where autism is just a “normal” part of my life and, even though some days are harder than others, for the most part I just deal with things as they come and make the accommodations I need for him. Sure, it sucks at times when I see what he can’t do (evaluation time comes to mind), but then I remember how far he’s come.

And I helped get him there.

It’s the same with running in the rain. You might look at me out of your window and think, That poor woman! She’s soaked! She must be miserable! However, if you looked at my face, you’d see a smile as I think about how far I’ve come.

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Jeanie is a former engineer turned stay-at-home wife and mom to an amazing 3-year old little boy on the autism spectrum. After her only child was diagnosed at 24-months with autism and an alphabet soup of special needs, she began to write about life parenting a very young child with special needs with honesty, optimism, and as always, a touch of humor. You can find Jeanie at her regular blog, Reinventing Mommy (http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/).

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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