FASD,  Health,  parenting

One Good Thing Today #specialneeds

style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
If today were a golf game I would ask for a mulligan. Not that I know golf, or anything else much today. It is summer and I love the hot weather. I can’t get enough of it in fact. It is my favourite time of year. We had a fantastic weekend followed by one child’s birthday and a day to sleep in. Perfect, right?
Not so today and yesterday. I have done two full summers now with scheduling my kids solidly almost every minute out of necessity. Their special needs, plus caring for my Mom and needing to be available to her meant that I needed to slot the kids into more day camps than I wanted to actually. But this year will be different, I thought. We’ve had a really big loss and we are all healing. We need the time together to rebuild. I am ever conscious that time is not faithful to anyone and my kids grow fast despite my work, despite my grief. I get maybe six more summers with one before she heads off to University. So I wring the daylights out of each summer day. I plan for them to travel with me leisurely through day trips and blog trips. We’ve already hit two great blog trips and have another quickie one next week. 
The plight of a work at home Mom doesn’t mesh well with special needs parenting and summers that are envisioned as hopeful fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-days, relish every moment and take photos running through the sprinkler days. Summer, plus work at home, plus special needs is a work in progress. 
I love my family and wouldn’t trade a single member for all the stars in the heavens. But this is life with special needs. Every so often you forget and think this will be the summer things are the way I have painted them in daydreams.
Very early on with my Ainsley girl I gave up this tiny thing – a dream I had of our Schuck foursome walking through Chapters/ Indigo taking a stroll – each of us picking a book calmly. Norman Rockwell- esque. My reading family. These are the moments I dreamt of when we were seeking to adopt. These are the ones we got: Ainsley getting lost at Disney. Ainsley wandering away from school. Ainsley running into the path of cars as we bolted after her, praying the driver saw her. Ainsley yanking all the books off the shelves at Chapters, racing through the store and getting lost. Ainsley struggling to process written words. Ainsley hitting us. Ainsley screaming all the time. 
Today is a day I don’t even have the energy to give FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) the one finger salute. But I’d like to. The awesome long weekend meant today Ainsley was angry and frustrated when she realized her sense of time is all messed up. Today is Tuesday she argued. I gave up, even though it’s Wednesday. Today she got time and place and distance and day all confused. I get it. I do. But I don’t have to be happy about it, when it means the FASD is mixing her little head all up so she is spitting at us and scratching me and kicking her sister in the stomach. 
I’d like to say that today I didn’t scream. I didn’t freak out thinking it’s been 4 1/2 years this kid has been wait-listed for a non existent service the Ontario government calls Special Services at Home. (That’s half of her life.) I’d like to say I didn’t think about walking down the street and disappearing. Or pulling a stunt at the constituency office of Deb Matthews. Today I hate the neighbours because they don’t have kids with special needs and they never offer to help and they look at us weird when she is having a meltdown. Today I resent all the older people on my street because they are not my Mom. Today I cried half a dozen times because it’s two months since my Mom passed away. There was nothing good or redeeming about today. But then the kids went to martial arts and I found this tomato and it was perfect. My tomatoes never turn red, but this one did. 
Special needs parenting is the process of constantly giving up dreams, sometimes finding new ones, and  grieving repeatedly. Normal doesn’t live here. But sometimes you find one good thing.
If you are a special needs parent, do you have days like this? If you were me what would you do with this tomato? 

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Christy Garrett

    My daughter was born deaf and when she was younger we were always running her to school or people were stopping by the house to help her.

    I noticed your tags mention Alzheimer’s, this is a terrible disease. I lost my mom Sept of 2010, to Pick’s disease which is a rare form of Alzheimer’s. Let me know if you want to read a 6 part post that I wrote about to help caregivers understand what it is like to deal with someone who has Alzheimers and I even provided information on what types of things the family needs to prepare for.

    I hope that your summer gets easier and I appreciate you sharing your story.

  • Nancy Tch

    Oh Paula – I know all about the meltdowns in public from my older DD who wouldn’t say boo to an adult if they asked her a question directly…the look of pity instead of a sympathetic hug or pat on the shoulder! Oh how I wish we were neighbours and we could lean on each other when those moments happen.
    A virtual hug from me to you….

  • Sny Med

    Paula, I would take the tomato and eat it with a shaker of salt and try to focus on the very simple pleasures. I’m so sorry you’re having a poor few days, but no one can take away from you that it’s summer and there is glorious sunshine.

    Jenna Em

  • Jennifer Van Huss

    Hugs Paula! You are an amazing women! I don’t know where you live but if I can ever help please let me know! You don’t have to do it alone!

    Congrats on the tomato ( I was wondering why the pic at the beginning of the blog! lol)

  • Bonnie Way

    I don’t have a special needs kid and sometimes I feel stretched out too! You’re right that being a WAHM is hard – the kids have summer break, but I don’t (in fact, I’m busier than ever this summer!). Hang in there; you can do it! 🙂

  • Aeryn Lynne

    *HUGE HUGS* Paula! Never forget that you are an amazing individual and so strong! Who do I write and tweet to in the government about the non existent Special Services at Home for Ontario?

    That is truly a perfect tomato, and I totally vote for a tomato (and cucumber) sandwich! 🙂

  • Journeys of The Zoo

    Your support is endless not only with the blogging community and myself but with your two daughters. You are always in my thoughts.

    So happy that you took the BlogLovin leap. Thanks for following and linking up.

    When life gives you red tomatoes make a Caesar.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo