Sunday, December 11, 2011

Starting Stopping

When I met my husband, I taught fifth grade, and he loves to recount how I never let him carry my very heavy teacher's bag for me. He also enjoys calling me his "locomotive." He says I have lived my life like a mission, and that I get a sense of control over the world by doing everything I can every chance I get.

But it's changing.

I have not yet met my son's new aide. This guy started work a couple of weeks ago, and I've already had three or four people tell me how talented he is at helping the Rooster, but I've let my husband handle that relationship. My kids take swimming lessons on Saturdays. They started about two and a half months ago, but I don't even know the name of the place. My only contribution to this endeavor involved terrifying my husband with stories of kids with autism and water danger, and sending him a list of local swimming classes; he took care of the rest. He has fought the battles with the discrimination and negligence at Roo's school more than I have. He has sat alone in the tiny blue plastic chairs at parent conferences for the very first time, putting me on speaker on his cell phone. He drops the kids off at school this year. He takes them horseback riding on the weekends.

After three years of frustrating our neighbors with our lawn, we have finally hired a gardener. Instead of volunteering for things, it's all I can do to send checks.

It's not one thing, it's everything. Even this blog. Where am I? What am I doing?

It hurts me, this falling away. In the hardest moments of it, I feel a little like I'm failing, a little like I'm dissolving, and I'm sad, worried, scared.

But my husband looked at me tonight and told me to get a grip. He didn't mean: go do more. He meant, lovingly: make peace with taking a breath. He meant, embrace stopping the madness. Don't weep about it, do it with intention. Choose to stop, don't go til you crash. He meant: it's okay to let your husband help you.

He said, "You have been holding the spinning world over your head and protecting it with your two hands while taking whippings, beatings coming at you from all sides. It makes sense your legs are tired and you need a breather." He said, "You have been working since you were 14. No one has ever said before, 'It's okay. I got this.' But honey, it's okay. I got this. Ok? I got it. And listen to me: everything is going to come back to you. Your energy. Your sense of yourself. It's going to come back. But only if you stop for a while. Stop, it's okay. I got this."

I don't exactly know how to start to stop. I don't know the rules for embracing letting go, dialing back. I have no experience at it. But I carry my husband's words around like a love letter in my back pocket, and they are giving me strength to try. To try to not try so much.


Gloriana Beausoleil said...

Oh, he's a keeper! Listen to him!
I'm another autism mom. We say no to almost everything, volunteer for very little, and just try to keep our lives peaceful. The Aspieboy and his brother's needs are enough excitement!

kim mccafferty said...

I can relate to every word of this post. Sometimes delegating is harder for me than actually doing it myself! Good for you for letting your husband take over a few things, hope it brings some peace!

Darcy said...

"Make peace with taking a breath." LOVE this. What a gift of words. Now I'm going to try to actually do it...hopefully we'll both have success.

Kirsten said...

What a wonderful partner you have.

PBear said...

how fabulous that he gets it! And do listen to him! It's so much easier than waiting until you break a bone to be forced into backing off! :-)