Okay. I'm going to warn you, this is going to be a whining blog. The non-whining, bummer free portion of this tale may crop up later on my other blog, but this post is going to have the full sized portion of bummer. Over a month ago, actually the day before Easter, I pulled something in my lower back. I wasn't doing anything ridiculous...really, and I resent you for being skeptical. I was in fact being slightly lazy. I had decided to get out some bins of summer clothing for the children, and said bins were stored behind another row of bins. So instead of moving the first row, I tried to reach over it and extract some rather bulky containers. To make matters worse, it was a tight space, and I had turned my hips sideways while trying to lift up and over. Dumb move. My hip started burning and paining me almost right away. I thought I was being good. I even skipped Easter services and rested up the next day. By Monday it was sore, but I was able to push through the pain and get on with things...until I repopped it out by mid afternoon. Repeat on Tuesday. But after three days or so, I just laid off the lifting and it seemed to get better. So much better that I forgot about the whole annoying episode.
Forgot, that is, until the night before Mother's day. Do you notice a pattern with holidays that fall on Sunday? I was merrily cleaning my bathroom when I bent ever so slightly to reach for a sponge, and I felt my entire lower back shift in a kind of unhealthy, sickening way. Not that it hurt, but somehow I instinctively knew I would not be going to church in the morning. What I did not know, was that I would not being going anywhere but the doctor's office for the better part of two weeks. It seems I had managed to give myself a nice variety pack of lower back trouble, and the pain would take me down quite handily for some time.
And lest you think this post is just about my bum back, oh no! The moral to this story goes much deeper than "lift with your knees". This is a situation we high energy, super organized, "bite off more than we can chew" adoptive Moms must be confronted with. Ask yourself, what will you do when (not if) you are laid flat by whatever it is that you did not see coming? How will you care for your special needs child/children? How will you provide the level of supervision necessary to be sure everyone is safe and cared for?
Let me answer for you. You won't. If you have to call for help to simply get up off the toilet, then you cannot do it. You must have help, and you must be willing to take it. I am incredibly blessed in that my wonderful husband works a minute away, can run home as needed, and can take the children to work with him, where they are fed and kept busy. I have two teen children who are sweet and reliable, who became my hands and feet. My husband can cook. In addition, my husband's employer is gracious in allowing him to take time to drive me to the doctor, and keep the children. Radiating out from my dear husband and children, are a circle of family and friends who are concerned and lifting me up in prayer.
This is all good stuff...great stuff in fact. But the harsh reality is that many adoptive families are not in this boat. The harsh reality is that even my darling girls would not hesitate to use this moment of weakness to take a dive into the deep end once more. A moment of weakness or inattention on my part usually signals at least one of them to engage in some unhealthy, unsafe, outrageous behavior. They don't have you play role play games at adoption preparation classes, but shall we?
Here's the scenario: You are down flat with a debilitating illness or injury. Forget getting up. You can't. Your older adopted child is prone to injuring the family pets, or playing with matches, or sexually aggressing towards a sibling. Take your pick. How will you care for that child, and keep everyone safe? Is it your FASD child's fault that you cannot provide line of sight supervision? It is your healthy child's responsibility to manage the unhealthy one? How will you clean up the mess when you begin to feel better? Can you?
We need to think about these things, because we are not invincible, but often we think we are. And as all of us in these trenches know, we can become terribly isolated, so that when we are in need, we find that we have nowhere to turn. This is why we keep putting ourselves out there, wearing our crazy lives on our sleeves, always trying to speak the truth. I admit, I hate being truthful at this point. I am darned tired of the truth, and would love to hide behind a little picturesque illusion for awhile. But picturesque illusion does not serve when we are truly in need, and no one even understands the need. I don't have to destroy anybody's dignity either. I can say, "I need you to watch this child. Don't let them out of your sight or hearing. They are darling, but dangerously impulsive. And check the bathroom when they're done." When they ask, just let them know how hazardous bathrooms can be....toilets to stuff, meds, toiletries, razors. Sometimes the temptation is just overwhelming.
The good news is, I'm feeling better. It goes far too slowly for me, but I have ample time to ponder the lessons to be learned. And the children are being stretched and growing too. They are learning that they can survive without Mom's watchful eye on them every minute of every hour; without testing every boundary just to see if Mom will rein them back in. Maybe.