Why I Can’t Think. Or Sleep. Or Breathe.

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I Can’t Think

As I write this, I’m in the middle of a week-long vacation of sorts.  I am by myself for most of it, surrounded by books and lists and planners and laptops.  I have not had this kind of opportunity since the kids started showing up almost 15 years ago.  I’m never without atleast some of them.  My intention was to use this time for a combination of much-needed self-care, and an intense writing/blogging/business retreat.

But neither one is really working.  I can’t think.  I can’t sleep.  I can’t relax much.

Why?  Because those pestery needy little chicks I so needed a break from…..aren’t here.  That’s why.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the chance to NOT be responsible for anybody else for a while, to NOT have to break up fights constantly, to NOT have incessant chatter pounding at my brain all day long.

But NOT knowing where they are and what they’re doing, and seeing that they’re ok with my own eyes….means I can’t think.  Or sleep.  Or relax.

I trust the people they’re with, that’s not it.  And logically, I know they’re fine.  Well, most of them.  But logic isn’t enough.  Logic doesn’t convince a Mama’s heart.

A Break is Not a Break

This is why I don’t take breaks.  Because it’s not a break.  It’s just a different place to do my worrying – a different place that adds new layers of stress.  A place that isn’t home (I love home. Home makes me happy.).  Unending opportunity for my mind to run wild with all the catastrophes that are probably happening, that I can’t fix or prevent.  And no way to prove my imagination wrong.

And because oftentimes, when you throw even a well-intentioned wrench into the routine and felt-safety of a special needs family, it does more harm than good.  Sometimes that’s temporary, sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes it helps you grow, sometimes it sets you back.

I’m not here because I scheduled it for myself.  I’m making the best of a week on stand-by.  One of my children is attending a week-long event here, far from home, and I needed to be nearby in case it all fell apart.  Which it almost did, on the first day.  But here we are, three days in and no word.  That’s supposed to be good news.  Maybe the experience will end up being amazing and life-changing.  Or maybe we’ll have a whole new level of fallout.

Meanwhile, my other children are divided and conquered back at home.  Some of the kids are calling and texting me every day.   Others are not.   I’m not sure which bothers me more.  They’re fine, I know they are.  They’re having fun and being loved on.  I’m very thankful for family.  This blog post is not about them, it’s about me.

Not Sure I Can Breathe Today

I also know all the parts of this that fall into the categories of The Kids Are Growing Up, You Have To Let Go, and This Is What Parenting Is…..  So please don’t lecture me, or suggest I try anxiety medication.

Unless you’re a special needs mama yourself.  Then I’ll listen to you.

Because you get it.  You get why I can’t think.  Why I’m staying up until 3am with the lights and tv on, just to drown out the worries.  Why I can’t breathe when they haven’t posted pictures in two days.  Why I hate taking a “break” from my kids, even if I desperately need it. Why the fallout afterward isn’t worth it.

Edited to Add:  While I was typing the previous paragraph, they posted pictures to Facebook.  Oh good, I thought, I can breathe again.  But my child is not in any of the pictures.  Maybe I won’t breathe today after all.

PS: Things turned out ok on all fronts.  I will blog about that soon!

Read about my Solo Self-Care and Blogging Retreat here and here.

Connect With Other Crazy Quilt Mamas

Are you a special needs mama, trying to stitch together something beautiful out of the scraps and messes life has handed you?  That makes you a Crazy Quilt Mama, and I’d love to have you join my Facebook group.  We need each other <3


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