Having a child on the spectrum means that a lot of your time and resources are given to that child. The job as a parent is to make sure that the needs of everyone are met. Even if I had all of the money in the world and could buy everyone anything that they wanted or needed I still wouldn't be able to buy more time.
Luckily I am able to stay home with the two younger children who are not in school yet. This time quickly fills up with story time at the library, going to playgroup, and the vast array of other exciting things that we do day to day. So, for the most part I feel that I am able to meet their needs. Except for days like this morning.
Kyle got his iPad yesterday. He was off the wall! He was so excited to be able to use it. First I had to download the apps and books for him to use. Everything was going smoothly until one of the apps wouldn't download. When I called Apple support, they were closed and I would have to wait until the morning to call. I called first thing this morning, they weren't open yet. They are located on the west coast. I called the minute they were open, 9 o'clock our time, and still didn't have the issue resolved by 10:15. This wouldn't be a problem, but I still needed to shower and get the kids down to story time for 10:30. Luckily I was able to get the kiddos ready while I was talking to the support guy. I didn't think we were going to make story time, but we did. We were only five minutes late. The guilt from missing the five minutes is still with me right now.
The little ones are also dragged along to all (well, 99% of) Kyle's appointments. During these times we (the little kiddos and I) are waiting in the waiting room reading books or playing with toys. Yes, I get to play with them but I am sure that they could choose a million other things that they would rather be doing.
Then there are the needs of my husband...I haven't checked in with him lately on what his needs are as I am so wrapped up in taking care of the kids and their needs...but I would hope that he would be able to use his "big words" if there was something that he needed or wanted.
Then there are my needs. Am I allowed to have needs? I try my best to take care of myself, and I think I am doing okay, but there are areas that I would definitely like to improve. I go to counseling every other week. It is a place where I can go to vent. Sadly it is mostly about the struggles that Kyle is facing and the impact it is having on him and everyone else, but at least it helps me keep my sanity. I am hoping that when these stresses start to diminish that I will be able to start working on improving myself.
Well, it has been over a month since I have been to see my couselor. I had an appointment last week, but I had to cancel because something came up last minute for the kids. I was really looking forward to that appointment. Luckily I was able to reschedule for tonight. I am really looking forward to it.
So, shortly after my husband comes home I will head to my appointment. Taking care of one of my needs. Before I can even get to the door I will hear two little ones crying because they will miss me and want to go with me. This is hard for me. It is hard because I will miss them too but we all need the space too. They get to stay home with me all day while Daddy works. They get to have Daddy time now.
Many questions run through my head as to why they don't want me to leave. Am I not devoting enough time and energy to them? Is it because they have me all day? What more can I do for them?
I will never know whether what I am doing at any given moment is the right thing to do. All I can do is use my best judgement at the time. I would like to hope that I am taking care of the needs of everyone in the family and that the needs of the little ones aren't being pushed aside. So, until I am no longer a parent, which I always will be, I will keep doing my best and doing what I believe is right for everyone.