I sit down with yet another stack of paperwork, and a tear slips down my cheek. I've already been to three appointments with my children today, one of which brought yet another diagnosis, and I just don't feel like I can do it anymore.
But we don't look like we're falling apart. In fact, I hear at every turn that we look so good. And I am thankful. I shudder to think how overwhelming this would all be if Pip weren't at a baseline. However, I'm apparently good at unintentionally looking more together than I actually am, which makes answering questions like "how are you?" feel like a huge dilemma.
When I'm asked how I am, there are two options before me. I can go with "fine," like the majority of good Americans, and people can take from that what they will, or I can answer honestly with "tired," "overwhelmed," "scared," or whatever is most appropriate at the time. Then I get to watch the listener wrestle with the obvious contradiction between how I look and what I just said.
Life as a special needs mom is a unique kind of exhausting. I read once that it isn't as easy as we make it look, and that sounds so....conceited. However, I really believe it's true. There's a lot that happens behind the scenes that nobody sees. And quite frankly, when we aren't looking "good," we're so far beyond good we aren't out--unless we're at the hospital or some such.
We've adapted to tired, and overwhelmed, and just plain so exhausted we can't see past our tears. I try to remember that all of the best intentions are being laid forth when I'm told I look "good." That it doesn't invalidate anything that I'm feeling. But I wonder if I'm this exhausted and feel like I'm accomplishing nothing, when will I ever do anything that matters? I see other special needs moms being support brokers for other special needs families. They're working a job. Or getting another degree. Or volunteering for church ministries.
I'm not doing any of that. I'm surviving. On minute, one hour, one day at a time. From where I sit, this doesn't feel good. It feels like failure.