"I found myself wondering today what people would think of me if I shared what's really going on in my head. Pretty sure my parents did a great job raising me: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Some days I wonder, where's the fun in THAT?"
Quoting myself. Now that's fun.
After a busy weekend of activities for my twenty-four year old, youngest daughter who has Down syndrome, I found myself tiredworn-outexhaustedreadytodrop, a bit crabby and thinking about my life (instead of hers).
I know that she is the heart and soul of our family. THE heart and soul. Without her, my husband and I wouldn't be us. Or would we? Without her, the sun wouldn't shine as brightly. Or would it? Life would be boring. Or maybe it wouldn't.
So as she reaches out to a milestone birthday just a little more than a month away with way more enthusiasm for it than I, I find myself thinking. Way.Too.Much. I am freaking out. Just a bit. It's part of the maturation process, I am sure.
Where the hell did those twenty-four years go? I swear, if one more person tells me what a great mother I am, I will weep. For I fear that I am not. That I never will be. And I try every day to be. I'll settle for good. Great should be saved for mothers that aren't sitting with a cup of tea on that rare occasion when they have a moment to themselves, thinking, when am I going to get my life back?
I've discovered that I don't like my friends so much anymore. Yes, you read that correctly. It's because I am jealous. I am jealous of their weekend plans with their husbands, sans adult children in tow. I am jealous of their trips to the drug store, the grocery store, all on their own. Jealous. Of everything they can do, that I cannot.
I am no longer the friend that you could call and say, 'hey, want to go to the mall for a while?' Nope. Can't do that. I have to have someone stay with her. Or I have to take her with me. Don't get me wrong, I want to take her with me. Most often I'm the one that wants to stay with her. In fact, I often prefer her company to that of others. She's funny, witty, smart, clever, engaging, and entertaining. She doesn't have many complaints. She's a bright light in a long list of dark days. She is an inspiration to me. She is so much more than Down syndrome. She is also a child in a young woman's body; it's not something you can overlook or forget.
I yearn for an evening of appetizers and cocktails with adults. In a bar. With no time limit on when we get there or when we get home. (and maybe even a hangover in the morning) Without having to ask 'are you going to be home so I can go out?' or plan who will stay with her and what's on the agenda for the next morning.
I think it would be really nice if my friends took a serious look at me and just knew that sometimes I need help; that they could help me and that I would accept help. If only they would offer. One time many years ago a friend told me she'd have my daughter stay over one Saturday night so that The Husband and I could go out for an evening or for a quick overnight stay out of town. I was so appreciative of the offer. But I would have appreciated it more if she'd actually, you know, followed through.
Friends (and relatives) mean well. They say nice things. They tell me how great I am. How "you do so much for her." How she's so wonderful. Did you know? I am an inspiration. Ha.
What I am is a sixty-year-old woman woman watching her friends send their children off into the adult world, dating their husbands anew, starting anew, traveling, retiring, attending college, downsizing, wintering in warmer climes. I am happy for them. But what about me?
I promise, this isn't a pity party. It is is a moment of darkness in an otherwise wonderfully funny, always interesting adventure growing up with a daughter who has Down syndrome. We've grown together and because of that I am truly a better person than I ever could have been without her. I wouldn't want her to be any different or any other way. She has taught me so much. She has been the inspiration of my days.
Have I done enough for her? Hell, I don't know. I'll keep working on it.
I'm sure my life will turn up again one of these days.