Saturday, May 1, 2010

Friends and Where They Fit

I miss my friends.

I don't mean that to sound whiney. I'm just trying to make sense of how to make time for friends right now. Maybe laying it all out will help me see. Currently our schedule looks something like this:

Monday: Ethan sees Theresa from 9-10:30, then we go to the special needs playgroup in Windsor from 10-11, then home for lunch and nap before he sees Jessica from 3:30-5.

Tuesday: My free morning I've tried to keep open for the Bible studies at church. I NEED these and the connection to other ladies. I'm not sure if this is possible since Ethan may be starting up speech again (I am not happy with Birth to 3's speech, which is nearly non-existent and they don't really concede to adding more of that specific service). After Bible study, home for lunch and nap before Sarah (OT) comes from 3:45-4:45 and Jessica comes from 4-5:30. The overlap days when Anna is home too are rather crazy, especially when I'm trying to cook dinner.

Wednesday: Jessica is here from 9-10:30 and Jen from 9-10. Jen is speech and while I love her, again not much ends up happening on her end because she's quiet and Ethan prefers Jessica so she doesn't really DO much. Anyway, after that my mom comes (thankfully!) and watches Ethan and Anna (when she gets home) so I can get errands done, go on longer-type shopping trips, get oil changed, that kind of thing. She was originally doing this so I could work on my freelance stuff but I've recently stopped that yet realize I really appreciate the break. This upcoming Wednesday I'm going to use part of the time to visit Ethan's potential preschool in Windsor.

Thursday: Jessica is here again from 9-10:30 and then after that I usually do grocery shopping with Ethan. This is the calmest day and I love it!!

Friday: We rush out of the house to see Diane in Glastonbury for OT from 8:30-9:30. Often on Friday we do make-up appointments if any of the therapists had to miss an appointment. Lately this has been nearly every Friday. The 2nd Friday of the month is MOPS (yea!), even if I end up making it there late every time.

Saturday: Dan has been working on a special business project nearly every Saturday for almost 2 months, maybe more. He's almost done (thank God!). But with other possible business ventures on the horizon, I see many more times when it will just be me and the kids.

Sunday: Church, dinner, and sometimes visits with my parents who always pass by us that day on the way back from their church.

I guess what strikes me most is that on the times when I am free, I often just want some "down" time! I am not used to having my house ready for people four days a week and always having to be "on." During Ethan's appointments I can't just disappear but rather linger nearby since he's often running to me and needs to be hugged then redirected. Plus of course I want to observe what's happening.

I have attempted getting together with people in the evenings and while not impossible, it's difficult. One big reason is I try not to be out more than once a week in the evening, or two nights at the most. I feel that Anna especially needs some one on one time (never mind Dan!). Then there are the weekends, where again I feel as if I'm either trying to play catch-up or just want to relax with my family without therapists being around. I'm trying to make sure no one is neglected, but it's not easy! Friendships have been slipping by the wayside, and I feel sad about that. I know there is an answer and I know this is just a season.

The other question has been...if I do have any free time, how much if any should I invest in new friendships with other special needs parents? Ack. I can see the benefit for sure and actually I'm planning on checking out a few support groups in the next couple of weeks. But if I do that, that means even less time for my current friends. Ack.

I can't agonize about this anymore right now. I just had to write it down and get it all out because it's been percolating in my mind for awhile. The other day Ethan's outpatient OT observed that maybe he's getting a little burnt out. That could very well be true, because I know that's how his mamma feels. I know this: there is no way he is bumping up to the 15-20 hours a week of therapy they feel is "optimal." There's just no way, for his own sanity and for all of us. Sometimes we all just have to live, and my little boy needs to rest, relax, and play, even if his kind of play can be kind of limited and repetitive. And sometimes mom needs to rest, too.

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