Yesterday being President’s Day, we got to have a rare day when E was free from both school and therapy. There are no winter breaks and the like from our therapy schedule; it continues year round, so even if she has a break from school there is usually still some kind of schedule happening in the afternoon for her.
Yesterday was interesting, though, because even though it was a holiday it sort of felt like a normal Monday .. maybe the kind of Monday that would be normal for us if E were a neurotypical child instead of on the spectrum. J did have the day off from work but took the opportunity to go golfing with his friends and thus was not home for most of the day, leaving me home with two littles just like if it were a regular non-holiday weekday.
Can I tell you? I absolutely relished it.
It felt so nice to not be rushing around to prepare for the therapist to arrive at 2 pm. Both kids got to take lazy naps until past 3pm and I got to sit on the couch and relax with lunch and my phone. If I’d wanted to, I could have used the quiet time to do some other productive things too but hey, it was still a holiday so I chose to chill instead ;)
When the kids woke up from their nap, there was no stressful “Ok, you have 5 minutes before the therapist arrives; get up, wash your hands, go to the bathroom” nonsense. I didn’t have to fight to wrangle D and keep him occupied apart from his sister so that she could focus on her therapy session. They got to play together the whole afternoon and since D absolutely adores his big sister, there was less for me to do to keep him busy. The afternoon felt like a giant time block of opportunity – I could do this or that and just stop to check on the kids once in awhile to make sure nobody was crying or fighting. I managed to clean out both kids’ closets and reorganize their wardrobes for the upcoming spring & summer months. I didn’t feel rushed or stressed; it was actually quite nice to sort through their clothes to the background noise of their playing.
By the time J came back from golfing around 5:30 pm (which is about the time he would return from work on a normal day) I didn’t feel burnt out or harried. There was no feeling of “The therapist just left the house 10 minutes ago, I literally haven’t been alone all afternoon, I NEED A BREAK.” I prepared dinner and felt leisurely about it. In fact, I even had the thought that if I’d planned it ahead better, I could have cooked a full-on gourmet-ish dinner like I used to before D was born instead of the half-thought-out mish mash that I threw together last minute. The whole vibe of the house felt peaceful even though it was filled with little kid mess everywhere.
I couldn’t help but think … wow, this is probably what it’s like e v e r y day for other parents who don’t have a daily therapy schedule to stick to. They probably get to go out to the park or run errands or even stay at home and clean every afternoon! The day must feel so filled with time and productivity for them! And I felt Mr. Compare Bear start creeping back into my heart along with his best friend, Miss Discontentment.
It took me a moment to step back and think about what I was actually saying. Do I really believe that other parents don’t feel exhausted by the time 5:30 pm rolls around simply because they haven’t had a therapist in their home all afternoon? Do I honestly think other parents of typically developing children daily feel the desire to get up and cook a gourmet dinner for their spouse? Seriously, do I believe that if E weren’t on the spectrum and this intense therapy weren’t a part of our reality that I’d be spending every afternoon being Mary Poppins with my kids or cleaning out their closets and redoing their wardrobes?
Uh, no. Girl, let’s get real here.
This was a really severe case of thinking the grass is greener on the other side. First of all, I can’t deny that the intense therapy we’ve been giving E has been helping her – a lot. She enjoys it and loves waking up from her nap to find her therapist already here and waiting. She has no complaints about it and she’s the one having the therapy. I’m just on the sidelines cheering her on and trying to hold her little brother back from running into her groove. Hah, and I’m the complaining about feeling burnt out because of therapy? She’s the super star handling it all like a champ and she’s not even 5 years old yet! My goodness.
In all reality, we probably only have another year or so of this intense therapy left and then it will all just be a distant memory. I honestly just want to take this season for what it is and enjoy it and be content through it because the Bible promises that contentment doesn’t lie in circumstances – it’s found in Christ. I want to live this season of my life knowing that God placed it in us for a purpose and I want to live it well, not complaining or side-eyeing my neighbor. Please, Mr. Compare Bear & Miss Discontentment, you’re not welcome here anymore. I don’t meant to be rude but if I find you around these parts again, I will firmly ask you to leave and not come back.