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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Have You Ever?

Have you ever...

...looked at your computer screen/pad of paper and questioned your actual writing ability?

...read everything you have written and thought about scrapping the whole thing?

...questioned your abilities as a wife/mother/friend/sister/writer,etc.?

...panicked when you realized that your kids only had one more 1/2 day of school left?

I have had a rough couple of days. I am going to be completely honest - life has pretty much sucked for me the last few days and this is probably going to turn into a pretty sad post. My son has struggled with social skills and self esteem his whole life. He was diagnosed last year (one week before his 12th birthday) with Aspergers Syndrome. This falls on the autism spectrum. He is very high functioning and very intelligent. His main difficulty is in the social skills area. A major problem with people with Aspergers is that they are so intelligent that they know something is not right and they become very depressed. Depression is a major issue for my son. He has been bullied for all of his school career. I'm not talking little bits of teasing - I am talking punched in the stomach, harassed, threatened with his life, etc (most of this at a crappy school where the administration did nothing - we transferred him to a different school after we found out). You add to that puberty, a deployed dad, a looming move, and middle school (need I say more?) and I have not had a very pleasant son lately. Which is hard because when he is happy he is one of the funniest and sweetest people ever! He had a pretty serious incident in school yesterday which put him into a tailspin. Because I am in his mom and I love him despite the fact that he drives me insane I go into a tailspin with worry for him when he gets like he has been. I don't sleep. I struggle with eating (either eating too much or not enough). I cry...a lot. I question every decision I make on his behalf and then I start questioning every decision I make in my life. I begin to feel like a huge failure because I haven't been able to protect my child from these feelings. Then I start to feel guilty because I am giving my son so much attention that my daughter is not getting enough. Then I have to decide whether or not I share this burden with my husband and add the stress to his life when there is really nothing he can do about it when he is thousands of miles away. Basically I get to a point where I want to crawl into bed and stay there for an undetermined length and not have to worry about a single thing. So I don't clean. I don't write. I don't cook. I don't live.

So, why am I sharing this here? First of all I needed to get it all out. Secondly, I think I might have a point. Last night I was at this point. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. It was bad. I was lying on the couch watching TV and crying about everything when I looked at my laptop and decided to work on my book. I thought about skipping a few chapters to a point where my character is pretty close to where I was last night. However, I decided to stick to where I was in the story. A point when two people are first falling in love. And it made me happy. And I remembered my own life. I remembered falling in love. When I thought my husband was the sun, the moon, and the stars. When I thought that WE were so in love that nothing bad could ever bring us down. WE would be that one couple who beat the odds and never had anything bad happen to us. WE would never get to the point where doing the little things for each other was too hard.

Then we got married. Then crap started happening in our life. But here is the thing - I still think my husband is the sun, the moon, and the stars. I still think that WE are so in love that we can get back up from anything that knocks us down. I still think that WE will be that one couple who, when bad stuff happens to us, we beat the odds, and we grow stronger. WE do some of the little things for each other but not all of it. One advantage to him being deployed 4 times is that we get to fall in love all over again every time he is gone and comes back. We miss each other. We remember how much we love each other and appreciate each other. I get butterflies in my stomach before I meet him at the airport and when we kiss for the first time. I have the advantage of being so close to the memory of falling in love and every time it is with the same person. When I thought of all of this I was able to add depth to my characters and make them have a true and deep love, not just an infatuated relationship built on looks (although good looks don't hurt either). I wrote about 1000 words last night and I think they are pretty darn good. And by writing I was able to get perspective back in my life.

I was also able to send my husband an email and let him know what was going on without whining and letting him know the situation was resolved and he didn't need to worry.

For my last have you ever question...I love my kids but summers freak me out! I do like sleeping in but I never know what to do with my kids to keep them entertained and I can't handle hearing "I'm bored."

What do you do to entertain your kids during the summer so that you can stay refreshed and ready to write and so that you can keep loving them? (Keep in mind that my kids are almost 13 and 9)

P.S. Sorry for the length of this post.

9 comments:

  1. I hopped over from Ruth's blog, and just wanted to say hello! And also, I'm sorry you've had such a difficult time lately. I'm glad writing was able to help with perspective. It's amazing how fiction can help us cope with the struggles of life. Good luck with everything!

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    1. I'm glad you found me Shallee. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear how hard life has been lately. I can't imagine dealing with everything you have all while your husband is deployed. Keep hanging in there, keep praying, and just take it a day at a time. Sounds cliche I know but when life gets tough for me those are the basics I cling to.

    As for kids, summer is a struggle for us as well. We spend a lot of time at our local pool for swim lessons, meeting up with families that have kids the same age. We go to the library a lot and read a lot. My 13 year old is a boy and we try to encourage him to work on scout merit badges almost every day (a little every day). I have craft supplies ready for all the kids (I have two younger girls than my son) to make bracelets, paint things, sew a little, etc.

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    1. Thanks for the comments Leslie. I'm surprised I can still walk with how much time I have spent knelt in prayer over the last year.

      When we lived in Texas we were at the pool almost every day also. We were able to walk there from our house. We will see what happens here since we have to drive into town to do it. Maybe I will just have them dig a big hole to make a pool... :)

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  3. Wow, OK, first off
    Yes.
    Yes.
    Yes.
    Yes.

    I have a son with social problems and it tears at a mother's heart. I really feel for you.
    I don't have a husband who's deployed and so I REALLY feel for you there!

    For summer I create a schedule. My kids THRIVE on schedules. It's not minute by minute but it's pretty steady. We go to the pool almost everyday, and the library twice a week, and the woods with our books twice a week or so as well. It forces my kids to entertain themselves during the summer. I don't give them a lot of toys at the pool, there are only books at the library, and there are only trees (and sometimes those books) in the woods. They are forced to use their imaginations and for reasons I can't explain, they are so much better behaved when we do these things. We go on long walks, go to neighborhood parks, and pick blackberries for the same reasons. I also make my kids run in the mornings. No TV or electronics for them until after 3 pm or so. Again, for reasons I can't explain, this works: structure, putting them in places where they HAVE to create their own fun, no electronics, and making them exercise in the morning.

    I'm just a little south of you. Bring your kids down this summer and we'll make a day of it.
    I'm glad Ruth pointed me to your blog :) I was wondering where you were!

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    1. My son is very, very schedule oriented! When he was a baby if I was 10 minutes late with the bottle you would think I had broken his arm he screamed so badly. 20 minutes late for a nap meant he couldn't even take a nap that day. I love your ideas! I love going camping and sitting in a hammock all day. Maybe I will take the kids and some books along a few times this summer. I have already challenged my son that we are going to train to run a 5k together. We want to be able to go running with my husband when he comes home for R&R so we are going to try running every day.

      So I like your schedule idea. We are going to get up and read scriptures (a task that we have always struggled with doing), go exercise, do yard work, maybe go hunt for crystals, go to the sand dunes, the pool and some other activities they might find interesting.

      Thank you for your ideas! Also, I am feeling much better this morning. Things are looking much brighter!

      I am glad you found me too! I loved meeting you at the conference.

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  4. :( I don't like this post. But it's nice to know some of your inside thoughts. Like Leslie said, one day at a time! Sometimes one hour at a time.

    I think Shelly hit the nail on the head when she suggested structure. They are so used to it during the school year that if it is taken away during the summer, they don't know what to do with themselves. I'm going to try it myself. :)

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    1. I don't like this post either. I questioned actually posting it and then I almost deleted it but it is stuff I needed to get off my chest. Plus I am feeling much better this morning. Bright-eyed, cheery children were sent off to school this morning. Now I need to come up with a fun end-of-the-year activity for this afternoon.

      You know me and structure! I do love it. Our first order of business is finally getting this house in order and then keeping it that way. I will have to take a look at your schedule and see what I can steal from it! :)

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  5. Yes to all your questions :) I hate the "I'm bored" too. You are not alone.

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