This week, Dave's been away on a business trip. Sabrina, Max and I miss him, but we've had ourselves a good time both at home and on outings for school clothes and chocolate milkshakes. When the kids were young and Dave wasn't around, though, I'd get nervous about being alone with them. I worried Max would have a seizure, and I was scared of juggling both of them; Max needed a lot of extra TLC.
For years, I'd rarely go out with the kids if Dave wasn't by my side. I felt like such a weenie. Before I had children, I was pretty intrepid; I genuinely liked to do things on my own. I traveled in Europe alone, I'd go to movies by myself—I felt like I could do anything I wanted to. The world, as they say, was my oyster.
That feeling clammed up once I had Max. I was so thrown by what had happened, so insecure about my ability to take care of him. The tremendous responsibility of trying to help a kid with brain damage develop weighed heavily on my head and heart. I'd marvel at the moms I'd see at the mall or in the park strolling around with their kids. They looked like they knew what they were doing. I certainly didn't. I was terrified of mothering my own child.
As it became more apparent that Max's muscles were stiffening, signs of the cerebral palsy, my can-do spirit would stiffen up, too. At times, I felt paralyzed by fear. There were nights when Dave came home from work and I would hand Max to him, go to our room, curl up in a ball on our bed and sob. It wasn't just grief; I felt so helpless.
Max had two seizures, a grand mal when he was almost two, and a petit mal at 5. They were nightmares come to life, but we got the seizures under control with medication. Me, I probably should have gotten anxiety meds back then, but never went that route. The years passed, Max progressed and my strength and spirit rebounded.
These days, I don't think twice about being alone with the kids or taking them out without Dave. Granted, there are places I still won't go with Max alone, like fairs or anywhere crowded, because he wigs out. But I am no longer scared of being his mom.
Have you gone through that, too?
Saturday morning, Max and I will be at the GoGo squeeZ Free Play Zone in New York City's Foley Square. It's open from 7 to 1, part of the Summer Streets event, and there will be activities and crafts. Max is an applesauce fan, and they're sponsoring posts. We'd love to have you join us.