Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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Support

No, I'm not going to talk about support hose, athletic support, or over the shoulder boulder holders, though there are some women that could really benefit from using them.You're supposed to look like you have a chest, not just the bags they came in. But, I digress.

*Ahem* Right. Support. As in Support System, something everyone should have, whether you have a special needs child or not. I am very blessed to have a support system second to none. I live in  teeny, tiny rural community in the sticks of Utah. While that may not be to everyone's taste, I love it for the following reasons:

1) Mom and Pappy  live literally less than a minute away. If that darn elementary school wasn't between us, we'd be across the street from each other.

2) I never have to wonder where my children are, or if they are in trouble. Because, if they ARE in trouble or misbehaving, I will have had a dozen phone calls telling me all about it before they EVER get home

3) No crime. None. The closest thing to crime we have is kids taking people's pumpkins and smashing them on the road out front of their houses.

4)No traffic. I live across the street from the elementary school on one side, and across the street and down three houses from the clinic and firehouse on the other. If more than 3 cars pass our house in five minutes, we think it's rush hour. Either that, or the EMTs are revving up the meat wagon.

5) Support system. Mormon women are known for bringing casseroles, cookies, fresh baked loaves of bread in times of crisis, and dropping by unannounced on Sunday afternoons to help fold the laundry and ask about Logan and my terminal case of hermit-itis, when it's NOT a crisis.

6) Gossip. What can I say. I don't get out much. I live vicariously through others.

I have only to pick up the phone and dial a number when a crisis strikes, and within an hour, I'll have people bringing dinner, dessert, arranging car pools, laundry, housecleaning, and tending the monsters for as long as we need it. It's like shining a batman spotlight over Gotham. I won't use that part of the support system unless I absolutely have to, because to abuse that kind of instant generosity would be inconsiderate and presumptuous. But talk about feeling powerful, just knowing that it's available when/if needed.

I have the Daddy, who, when I told him this morning I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown unless I got some sleep, came home early, made dinner ( OK, I thawed the meat, peeled and sliced potatoes, and got everything out of the fridge and ready for him before he got here), and supervised house cleaning and monster play so I could sleep. And sleep I did! I was out cold for 4 hours, until monster #4 woke me up with the same cold/flu/fever the Daddy had this weekend. Dang it.

I have Mom and Pappy ( I really am educated, and I grew up in major cities my entire life until I moved here with children of my own, but we're weird and we all think it's funny when I call my father Pappy. It just kinda stuck.) who are willing to be there for all of us whenever and however we need it. Midnight rides to town (that would be the city 45 miles away) so I could take over the night shift at the hospital the last time Logan was there, piano lessons once a week for monsters 1-5, babysitting, and frantic calls about "Oh, good grief, charlie brown! I forgot to buy cream of tartar and I have to have it for the kindergarten play dough I've already mixed up. Can I borrow some?" and of course, my mother, being the saint she is, always has whatever I need to borrow. And we have the pleasure and privilege of having Grama and Grandad ( aka Mom and Pappy) over to Sunday dinner most every week. It's become a tradition for us that we hold near and dear. Grama brings homemade dinner rolls ( HEAVEN!!), I cook, Grandad watches Dish, the monsters raise general hell, the Daddy hides in the man cave until dinner is ready. It works for us. ( Bubbe, now  *I* have Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head! Traditioooooooooon ....TRADITION! Darn that Tevya...)

Simply knowing that there is a support system there, whether I need it or not, is a relief for me. It lets me just fall apart every so often without guilt. Friends, family, church, respite care through a charity, daycare services for an hour or two every week... whatever it is that makes up YOUR support system can be the glue that holds everything together when things have the potential to fall apart. Maybe you're in an area where you have no family. Join a Mommy and Me, or start a parents group for special needs kids that meets for dinner at each others' houses once a week. Join or start a book club or knitting group. Meet your neighbors and establish a relationship with them so that when an emergency happens, God forbid, they know you and you know them and you won't feel stupid calling the fire department/ambulance/police/Orkin man/ Triple A from the house across the way.



Or say, a monster let the bathtub over flow for the nine millionth time and the bathroom sub floor give up the ghost while the Daddy is away on business. What do you do? Who do you call? What will you need?

The monsters figure out that if they hold a candle next to the smoke alarm, fun things happen. But, while your back was turned cleaning up a quart of aveeno lotion from the Family Room carpet, they lit a candle and stood on the back of the couch to get high enough to make the smoke alarm shriek, then they dropped the candle to clap their hands with excitement, and suddenly your bedroom door ( right under the smoke alarm) is in flames. What do you do? Who do you call? What do you need?

Okay, okay. Here's a real life one. You've been only cat napping for the last week because the entire family has a nasty cold/flu. It's been 7 sleepless nights of fevers, vomit, laundry, humidifiers, medications, and mucus. You're crazed with exhaustion, you haven't had a minute to shower in the last three days, and you don't want to know what's all over your clothing. You are starting to think of sleep like a heroin addict thinks of their next high. What do you do? Who do you call? What do you need?

Obviously, if you're in Southern Utah, you'd call ME. But if you're not....... who do you call? All joking aside, this is crucial. If you work with early intervention for your child, they have resources for respite care so you can get a nap or a shower or do the grocery shopping. If you do not, call them anyway, tell them you need contact info for respite care. They'll take it from there. Failing that, call the pediatric unit of your local hospital.

My thoughts and warmest wishes are with everyone reading... because I KNOW how crazy life gets. I KNOW how hard it is sometimes. Build yourself a safety net, because one of these days, you're going to need it.

3 comments:

Allison said...

That's pretty cool. It's nice that you have such a great support system. I have my husband, moms (birth and step), dads (same thing), and the in laws. We live in a smallish town, but not many people go out of their way for neighbors here.

Rhiannon Fieri said...

You are indeed quite blessed, and I am GLAD (while at the same time, jealous)!!

I'm Jennifer. said...

Aha! Now I get it. When I found you on Twitter earlier this week I wondered to myself how a mom of 7 stays sane. Support system! Nice.
My nephew has Autism...going to poke around your blog now to read more.
-jen @ http://www.take2mommy.com

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