I’ve been on a journey of peace for the last year and it has truly turned my life around. That doesn’t mean that I’m filled with peace each day and that there is no turbulence in our life as a family. Funk happens sometimes and I’ve been digging myself out of one for a while now.
By funk I don’t mean I’ve been skipping showers or that groovy kind of music that’s a mix of blues, soul and jazz (not into missing bath time, but totally digging that funky beat). I’m talking about being in a funk, when you are just completely out of sorts. It happens to a lot of people and it most definitely happens to moms. Shake your head girl because you know it’s happened to you too.
Lately I’ve been the queen of funk. The new year has come and gone and my get up and go, got up and went. It’s always hard to come off the holidays and get back into your routine, but this year it seemed a bit harder than some years. I fell off the grid for the holidays and it was nearly impossible for me to jump back into the thick of things. Add in additional holidays, days off from school, some extended family struggles, constant change in weather, sinus issues, and oh yeah, autism, and you have a recipe for some serious chaos in our world.
For the last couple of weeks our daughter has been having a hard time with all the transitions she’s been dealing with. The changes in her daily schedule, her school schedule, an annoying post nasal drip effecting her sleep and the weather, have all taken a toll on her. I’m guessing she feeling the funk from my end too. This, of course, takes a toll on us as parents too. We worry every day because that’s what moms and dads do, but seeing her anxiety and struggle has been upsetting for us. The last couple of days have been particularly hard for her and yesterday it came to a head.
She’d had trouble understanding she couldn’t get her way (something most kids can’t grasp) and since she has a hard time expressing and managing her feelings, she screamed and cried when things didn’t go the way she wanted. It was her way of coping. You see, she’s learning about flexibility and how things don’t always go our way in life, but for a child that cannot control much of anything,thank can be a hard concept to get. She is always looking for a way to control a situation so she can feel at ease. That’s why she thrives on her regular routine because she knows what to expect.
So yesterday was her second meltdown (this not a regular child’s tantrum, but a complete breakdown) and this one was directed at her teachers. By the time I picked her up she was crying and not yelling anymore, but when I went through our regular entrance in our neighborhood, she started to ask me to go through another way and completely broke down when I wouldn’t turn around and do what she asked. It was just plain awful.
The screaming and her meltdown went on for over an hour and I’ll be honest, it felt like days. I could see she was anxious and in pain. I could almost see into her head for that moment and could understand what she must be feeling. This is something I learned a lot about from an amazing book I read recently called The Reason I Jump (I’ll devote a whole post to that game changer later). I tried to hold it together, but once we gave her some space and my son and I moved to my room to wait it out, I completely broke down. Now we were both deep in the funk.
My poor five year old boy was consoling me and literally grabbing tissues for me, blowing my nose, and hugging me. At one point he even told my daughter “leave Mommy alone”. Of course, she wasn’t doing anything to me, but he was coming to my defense because he saw I was so sad. I hated that he saw me that way, but at the same time it was such an incredibly sweet moment. Let’s face it…we all break down now and then and I definitely don’t want my kids thinking life is peaceful and perfect all the time because you and I know that’s far from the truth. I think about all he has seen between therapy appointments and daily autism struggles the last few years. I worry how it may be effecting him, but at the same time I see what an incredibly compassionate little boy he is. Secretly I’m hoping he becomes a world famous neurologist, a teacher, or possibly a behavioral therapist. I’m good with any of those choices (big smile).
I spent a lot of time talking to our daughter after she was able to get to a more peaceful place. I’m not sure how much she understood, which makes having the conversation with your seven year old that much harder. She understood she should apologize to her teacher, to her parents, and to her brother. I’m not sure how much of my speech she actually comprehended on how none of us get our way in life all the time or how mommy and daddy have rules to follow too. All I know is that she seemed a bit more at peace and if you can get to that place, it makes it easier to deal with any of life’s blows.
Today came and I was so thankful to hear she had a great day. The three of us had a peaceful afternoon together after school. I got too comfortable though and right before bed we had a repeat of the same behaviors. Right back to the funk again. I realized that peace sometimes comes in waves, when we need it most. It’s not a given or a constant, but when we give ourselves time to get to that place of peace again, it’s something that can pull you out of whatever deep funk you are in or whatever anxiety you might be dealing with.
Yeah, I’m sometimes that autism mom funk queen. I own it, but it doesn’t have me. For now, I’m giving myself a chance to relax and get back to my serene place. Tomorrow is another day. It holds the promise of more peace for me, for my family and for my princess. If we have that, we can get through all of life’s challenges. My princess and I will keep our crowns, but you can bet we will be kicking that funk to the curb!