Hello June! Hello Summer!
I've looked forward to this day for weeks and am determined not to feel an ounce of guilt. Like all mornings, I wrestle myself out of bed to only have to wrestle more to get my 12 year autistic son, who also has Down Syndrome, to decide to get up. I'm tired. This is the 9th straight month and his behavior seems to get worse as he ages, but today...today is his last day of school! Forget that school doesn't officially end until Tuesday of the following week. I've had enough. As I drop him off to the normal tug and pull from the school staff and frustrating emotions behind the words that have been uttered some 178 days, "Miles, get out of the car!" I feel relieved that for the next 7 weeks, at least, I get to breath, live, rest, and rekindle a relationship with myself.
Maybe it's just me. I see the beaming Instragram posts, the loving videos, the many adventures, but I haven't mastered the balance portrayed by those mothers of children with special needs. Perhaps it's that I'm a single mother who also has a career and runs a household totally alone. Or maybe it's because I have little patience and after 12 years of wiping butts, dressing two humans, picking up after teenagers, and handling the financial burden of parenting alone that I'm simply exhausted. Or maybe my son isn't like those children. He sits and stubbornly refuses to get up if we walk more than about five steps. He grabs and hits other people, often thinking it's funny. Who knows! But whatever the case, I love when June comes because it ushers in a time for rejuvenation, to catch up with myself, and to bask in a sense of freedom and peace not warranted most of the year. Never mind the heat or the fact that this is the first year I am on contract year round, June is a time that I find time to enjoy outside, get back into the gym, catch brunch and hang out with my girlfriends.
It's easy to feel guilty about enjoying your child leaving for a short period of time. What type of mother am I to excitingly send my child away and wish it could be for longer? As his father takes him, he makes sure to tell me precisely the day and time he will bring him back, July 22nd at 6 pm. I immediately start calculating the days, trying to figure out how much time I have to bask in freedom before searching again for someone to care for Miles when school is out and I am at work, calculating the days before I not only invest a pretty penny into my daughter's college tuition but also in hiring a caregiver for my son. How much time I have before I have to stress all over again. My guilt changes to bitterness. How nice it must be to have your disabled child on occasion with a return date. How nice it must be that most of the year, you can bask in freedom while being praised for the sacrifice that parenting warrants. (giggles)
But I have June and most of July... My favorite time of year! My moment of solitude and my month of rest! And for that, I am grateful!