Perspectacles

Do you read Glennon over at Momastery?  You should.  She’s so good.  She taught me to use my Perspectacles, even though I am still so bad at doing so.  She says “when I feel (something) lacking- I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have.”

I, personally, am usually only focused on my own situation.  How hard I have it.  How tough our circumstances are.  But wearing one’s perspectacles can really help when you’re feeling low.

I’ve been feeling low for awhile.  January did not help.  A blizzard did not help.  Some best friends and neighbors moving did not help. Sicknesses did NOT help. (Stomach viruses! Strep! Fevers! Gout! Colds!). But after a really low week…ah-hem, thanks a lot, Jonas…I feel better.  And part of what’s helped is my perspectacles.

Today was a perfect example.  Today is Wednesday.  Wednesday is speech therapy day.  Kelsey and I like Wednesdays.  That’s because we L.O.V.E. her speech therapist, Julie.  She really was a gift delivered at just the right time.  This angel-on-Earth was Ben’s therapist when he was two, also.  And we loved her just as much then.  But Ben is pretty easy to love.  Kelsey is a tougher cookie to crack.  But Julie is her biggest fan.  Literally.  Julie sees things in Kelsey that even I don’t see.  She “gets” her.  But enough gushing on her.  We don’t need perspectacles to know we love Julie.  That is clear as day!

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Kelsey, in her spectacles, meeting Julie for the first time.  An instant connection.

——Pardon Me.  I interrupt this pleasant rant for a certain someone who just yelled “Mommy!  I threw up,” from his bedroom after tucking the kids into bed a whole five minutes ago.  Entire dinner cleaned up off the floor and out of the drain in the sink it wouldn’t go down.  Sheets changed.  Outfit changed.  Empty bucket that was two feet away moved closer to bed.  Laundry started.  Big Gulp of Cabernet poured.  Don’t worry…it was just a cough induced (that he’s had since September) puke. Where’s the sobbing emoji when I need it, WordPress!?!?——

So.  Where were we? Oh yes.  Wednesdays.  We love Wednesdays.  We really love Wednesdays that don’t involve barfing 8 year olds, but that’s neither here nor there.  I like Wednesdays because I know there will be positive things said about my daughter.  She will show growth from the following week.  She will be happy and learning.  And, quite frankly, I don’t hate that Julie scoops Kelsey up for 50 minutes and I sit in the waiting room reading, checking Facebook, and catching up on emails.

The waiting room is where I saw the need for perspectacles.  There when we arrived was a grandfather and his grandson (4?) and granddaughter (15 months?).  They have been in the waiting room with me for the last month or so and I enjoy their company.  I’m always amazed by highly involved grandfathers.  They aren’t as rare as you may think either.  Just yesterday I saw another grandfather and his granddaughter at our physical therapy appointment.  My children’s grandfather is highly involved and has taken his grandson to therapy as well!  We love you Dad-Dad!

Anyway, I enjoy watching this “Pop,” as he is called, play with his kiddos.  He’s not on his phone or even reading a book. He plays with them every week and watches them and interacts a lot with them.  And, usually, he really seems to like it.  I wonder if he watches these kids everyday?  Or just a couple times a week?  I wonder a lot about other families at therapy appointments.  I’m sure they do the same of us.

So today, I could tell things were a little off.  His tolerance seemed lower.  The grandson was adorably trying to get my attention and show me toys.  This annoyed Pop.  The granddaughter was being “mischievous.”  Pop said that many times.  He told a story, more than once, about how the girl was provoking her brother, and then the dog, yesterday.  He was bothered when the girl put the puzzle in the wrong spot.  He was bothered when the girl was taking all the toys out of the bin.  I could just tell that he was having a rough day and he wasn’t in the mood for toddlers and preschoolers.  Hey, we can ALL relate to that one, right!?! Some times you are just not in the mood for their adorable quirks and behaviors.

But what I saw was a girl, who was probably just one year old who was walking, climbing, running, just like she should be.  Just like Kelsey should be.  She was following directions, putting puzzles together, and mimicking her grandfather.  Just like she should be.  Just like Kelsey should be.  She was pointing, waving and repeating her play. Just like she should be.  Just like Kelsey should be.  This girl, who is likely half of Kelsey’s age was doing so many things that I pray for everyday.  And these things were annoying her grandfather.  I so wanted to hand him some perspectacles to see.  That so many people are wishing for what you have…people two feet away from you…are wishing for what’s annoying you.

So then I turned that around.  There are plenty of families with Menkes, hypotonia, hydrocephalus, epilepsy and strabismus who were praying for the results we got.  There are families with situations totally different from ours who envy our “luck.”  But that is so hard to see when you’re in the thick of things.  Whether it be carpet-cleaning the puke up or nursing a child who just had brain surgery back to health.  It’s often so hard to use those perspectacles when things are hard…but it can be so helpful for survival and happiness.

I heard a story today on the news about a girl who was murdered by students from Virginia Tech.  This girl had overcome so many odds including multiple bouts with cancer.  And she was murdered.  By two college-educated scum bags.  All I could think of was her mother.  I know this woman.  I don’t, but I can feel her pain so deeply.  This woman cried, sobbed, prayed, loved, wept, prayed, begged, asked why, cried again, worked, prayed, hoped, had to put on her perspectacles so many times, and nursed her baby to health who had a terrible disease ravage her body.  She did all this and her daughter was healthy.  She had “beat” cancer.  And then.  She was murdered.  All that heartache and victory only to have the absolute worst outcome.  It’s beyond heart wrenching and incomprehensible.

And there’s another story about a very local five year old girl who died, tragically, in a sledding accident last week.  A five year old.  Playing.  At her house.  And now she’s gone. And her family is broken, forevermore.

There are countless stories like this.  Countless families who are suffering, wishing and praying.  And then there are families who are in a waiting room on a Wednesday and irritated with their children who are doing exactly what another family is wishing for.

The cliche’s are so cliche when you’re a special needs parent.  “It could be worse.  The grass is greener on the other side. You’re so strong.  I couldn’t do what you do.”  Blah, blah, blah.  I hate the cliches. I also don’t like to be made to feel guilty when I’m also feeling sad.  It all matters.  It’s all hard.

It could be worse, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. 

But perspectacles help.  They help with another cliche.  “Enjoy it now!  It doesn’t last!  They grow up so fast!”  Perspectacles definitely help to see the good, even if they don’t make the hurt any easier.

So I’ll take it.  I’ll take the puking eight year old who has been coughing for a semester.  I’ll take the snotty, clingy toddler who just got over a cold.  My perspectacles are helping me to see clearly this week.  And I’ll take it.

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13 thoughts on “Perspectacles

  1. Honestly, you are my perspectacles often. When I think it’s been a rough day, I’m like, “Imagine how happy Kim would be with this day.” As a RECC teacher there are other families too who are my perspectacles and I pray for all of you. Great post….really great. I think your best yet.

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  2. You have such a way with words. Such genuine honesty….
    i so enjoyed seeing you today even if it was for 10 minutes!
    I need to remember to put on my perspectacles! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim, I am always so inspired when I read your blogs…Thank you for your beautiful honesty… We are going through so much but reading what you experience with your precious children, helps us keep in all in perspective… I must definitely share this with Tanya tomorrow…You really are an amazing mother!!!

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  4. Kim, I read your blog as religiously as i read Glennon’s. You are my Glennon. You are many of your friend’s (near, far, and virtual) Glennon. You’re right it could be worse, it could be better, but we are all entitled to feel how we feel about our particular situations. In 2014, everyone in my family had surgery, some of us multiple times. 2015 was better except for the Winfield elementary cough and puke syndrome which actually made more work and utter despair than nine surgeries in total. 2016 looks like it’ll be more surgeries for three of us and the continued cough and puke and I’m just a tad angry about that. Anyway, this response won’t let me misspell spectacles, but putting on per-spectacles at times and other times just allowing the feelings of ugh out are truly what make the strong survive this life. Oh and wine!!!

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