“I think you’re closer to Max since you’ve been here,” my mom said to me after a week long visit in her house.
Right when school ended, we came down south for a week to stay with my mother. My goal was to spend time with her during a much needed healing process and to place my kids in the camp I grew up in.
When we arrived, his behavior was up and down. Sporadic. Unpredictable. We were both not sure if he would wake up on the right side of bed to go to camp or whether he would lay there for an hour and struggle to dress, eat breakfast and leave the house.
Yet after a few days he started to jump up to run to camp. It was obvious that he was enjoying the heck out of a camp where he didn’t know a soul. He was the odd man out, the only New Yorker in a group of native Atlantans. Yet he was excited about the line-up of activities each day and would come home every day and check the schedule for the next day. He also wanted to check the Shutterfly collection that they uploaded daily to see if he made into any pictures.
I don’t talk about his behavior too often here because it’s hard to describe. Without a diagnosis and a clear explanation of what the issue is, what can I tell you. We’ve been in and out of services for the past 4 years and I’ve dedicated myself to his upbringing. Fortunately, I’ve always worked part-time and have been able to focus on his needs. Occupational therapy, social skills groups, psychologists…been there, done that, and a lot of it. And whenever I think we no longer need help, I run back. It’s often like running in circles, but you don’t know where you’re going.
But as a child like him gets older, it doesn’t get easier. You hope that they’ll outgrow their idiosyncrasies, you can say it will get easier with age, but that’s not always the case.
But this week, with my job downsizing and minimizing my hours (that is a separate post but an issue that I am reticent to speak of here), I found myself here in Atlanta to make this trip the most for my children. A whole nine days. My mom and I have both been showering him with attention, and I, who spend a lot of time on the computer at home working as a consultant and writer, put my work aside and focused on my family.
I am sure that made a difference in his behavior and once again, I have taught myself a lesson.
Working from home is a catch 22. You supposedly have the best of both worlds because you can be where you need to be for your kids. But the draw back is that when you take time out of your work to do what you need to do for the kids, you lose time and have to make it up at times that are not convenient for the family. I love the fact that I am an entrepreneur, writer, social media consultant, marketer and theater producer. All these titles I owe to working from home and having the freedom to tap into whatever I’m interested in. And believe me, there is more that I want to do and more that I will do. But if paying attention to my son is what he needs, and he does require more than the average child, than I truly have to think about this moving forward. As I spend my summer trying to figure out my own life, I will have more time to devote to his life.
So, whether or not I am actually closer to my son because of my current job status, or the fact that we just spent a week with my mom and there was an uptick in the attention factor, one thing is clear. My son is fabulous and growing up fast, and it’s important that I really be ALL here for him.
I have always been by his side, although sometimes distracted as a mom trying to do it all (no, I’m not commenting on the Can Moms Do It All? controversy, although I certainly could fill up my blog with posts on that subject). I’ve worked full-time, part-time, as a freelancer, in the office, out of the office, traveled for work, started my own business, contributed to various web sites as a paid writer, over-committed myself with volunteer work, and more.
So, to my mother, I simply replied, “I thought we were, but maybe you’re right.” As the mother of a special needs child, we can’t always be close. He works against me sometimes, when he can not control his impulses. But I always know, even if its hard to tell and he does not express it clearly, that I am his mommy. He would be as lost without me as I without him.