Busyness and Emotional Mess

Wow, is it a busy time for me right now.  I just can’t start on my homework for the day until I write for a bit.

In two more months, I’ll be done with homework and will have finally accomplished a goal I’ve been trying to reach since 1993.  I’m feeling like I’m getting behind but I always do by this point in the semester.  By now, the courses are getting harder – the information is getting more difficult to understand and absorb, the pace is getting faster, and I know that “semester-long” projects – the details of which for some reason they always like to keep from you up until the last minute – are coming up over the horizon.  I’m getting down to the wire.

I’m getting e-mails and calls for interviews.  I spent all day yesterday taking tests on proveit.com.  That was intimidating and eye-opening.  After completing the tests, I e-mailed the recruiter to let her know and stressed the fact that I am a beginner in this field and am looking for a position in which I can learn and grow.  I have a phone interview coming up with another company.  I have an interview scheduled in person at the end of the month with another place.  I think I’ll do well enough with these but I don’t like interviews at all.  I don’t think very many people actually do enjoy interviews.  Being an introvert, I have to force myself out of my shell for these things.  I’m fairly good at putting myself in extrovert-friendly situations but then I really need recuperation time afterwards.

Jamie turns 16 this week.  She started driver’s ed last week so that is huge.  When I told her I signed her up, she cried.  It was really the first time I saw her genuinely appreciative of something that she has had to wait so long for and was not expecting at all.

We have finally begun the respite provider search.  We were approved months ago but just started contacting people.  I’ve had a few responses and I’m meeting a woman who looks like a good candidate tomorrow.  We are also going to start the process to get section 28 approval for dayhab for Sarah and try for a week of camp again.  It didn’t work out last year and she was “kicked out” after the first day.  There was a misunderstanding somewhere and they didn’t realize she was a child needing complete 1:1 help and I didn’t realize that they didn’t have 1:1 staff –  while they have volunteer staff, they do not have enough people to provide 1:1 care for her.  If she has a dayhab provider, we’re told, they can accompany her to camp.  We had a negative experience last year and decided to stop dayhab services.  This time, if a provider is not working out, personalities clash or I just have a bad gut feeling, I will be more vocal and request a new person.  I have learned since starting CNA services that if we don’t like someone for any reason, we just let the company know the person isn’t a good fit for us and they don’t send the person again.  They find someone else.  Simple as that.  I was too hesitant before and wanted to give people a chance, but I realize Sarah, and the rest of us and our home life are more important than what a stranger thinks of me.

Sarah has come so far and part of me really wishes I could keep taking care of her and spend time with her over the summer like I did last year, but we need to have me working.  I feel like I’m the best one to take care of her though and my big fears about going back to work full-time center around whether someone else going to take care of her needs the way I would. If Sarah were a normally developing child, we would both be working full-time and far ahead of where we are now financially.  If Sarah were a normally developing child and daycare wasn’t an issue, I would’ve been back to work full-time a long time ago. Most people don’t have to worry about what to do with their 11 year-old over the summer or after school.  Older siblings and rec camps usually fill the gaps, but that won’t work for Sarah. If Sarah were a normally developing child and daycare wasn’t an issue, I would’ve been back to work full-time a long time ago. Most people don’t have to worry about what to do with their 11 year-old over the summer or after school.  Oh, and it’s been nice being home even with all of the homework and studying to do.

I was doing my hair earlier and you know when you’re alone and thoughts start whirling around in your head and for some reason a random thought pops out? I thought about the first time we ever heard Sarah say something that sounded almost like words and the only time I have ever heard her say “I love you”.  She might have been about 6 or 8 months old (you know after the first kid, you start to be lax in remembering exactly when they did everything).  We were saying  “I love you” to her and all of a sudden, she came out with something like, “ow ahhh oooh”.  I remembered that this morning and started to cry.

I thought about how hard a time we were having (I was having) with her a couple of summers ago when she was not potty training and was hitting her head, throwing things, getting up all night every night, in constant motion, banging on the doors and walls… just being impossible and I was ready to give up.  I almost couldn’t bring myself to feel love for her anymore or feel anything.  I was numb if I wasn’t resentful and frustrated and hating the world and everyone in it.  I was ready for Ron to take her away, just go home to Michigan and take her.  I couldn’t take it anymore.

He was working overnights which meant he was sleeping during the day on day 1 to gear up, sleeping during the day and working all night the next 3, then recuperating sleeping all day on day 4 then had one actual day that seemed kind of normal before starting the cycle again of sleeping the next day off to gear up for the new week.  It was like he wasn’t even here.  I was working part-time and we were juggling her but he handled it so much better than I did.  I think about how I almost gave up on her and then things got better when we had some help.  And then worse again.

But then this past summer I spent with her with no other things to work around, was the best summer I’ve had since I can remember.  I thought about that one “ow ahhh ooooh” that I never heard again.  We tell her and show her every day that we love her and she shows us every day how much she understands and that she loves us too even though she can’t tell us.  She holds our hands and cuddles up to us, she puts both of her arms up around our necks, smiles, and puts her open slobbery mouth on our cheeks.  She’s so sweet and and has calmed down so much.  It may not last forever and she may have issues later on – I hope not, but it’s possible.  But I will always try to keep in mind that image of the many times she’s said I love you just by putting her arms around me and the memory of the one time she vocalized an approximation of the words.  I could say it was a fluke and she was just mimicking us but she never really did any other mimicking, babbling, vocalizing at that time.  She started babbling later on and still makes a lot of vocalizations. Every once in awhile her brain makes the right connection to her mouth and she comes out with things she repeats back to us like  “hi”, “mum”, “cracker”, “all done” (uh duh), “good girl” (guh guh), and I even recorded her once saying what sounded like, “Oh God, mom!” to my singing.

I never again heard the words “I love you”, but she has her way of showing it.  I now think when she said it way back then, what she meant was, “Whatever happens, please don’t ever give up on me.”

Laurie Frisbey

About Laurie Frisbey

Laurie Frisbey is the mom of a college graduate, a teenager and a preteen with special needs. She has been an administrative assistant, but is now a SAHM and full-time college student (third attempt) . She is about to embark on a brand new career in CIS at the age of 42.