I’ve said the exact same words to people. People whose lives I’ve never lived, shoes I’ve never walked in. It’s easy to imagine that we couldn’t go through the trials we see others going through. So, for me only, I give you a look into how I do it:
My laundry pile is four feet wide by three feet deep. We’ve been rifling through that pile, taking some clothes when we need them, adding more when they get washed, for weeks.
I can’t remember the last time I did my hair.
Christmas presents this year will probably be unwrapped, not thoughtful at all, and late.
My kids homework has been forgotten too many times this week.
The list goes on. I’m not saying I’m a slobby person or that I’m a bad mom. I just know that with everything else going on, I’ve got to pick carefully my battles. I don’t do it all. I do what I have to because I have to. Because at the end of the day, we still have our choices. I choose to be okay with a little mess. I’m okay with looking tired and undone because right now I’m exactly those things.
I don’t put on a brave face if I’m not feeling brave. I let myself fall apart, too. I let myself cry. I let myself be pissed off. We don’t have emotions just so we can deny them. They are a part of the human experience. I’m grateful for the times I’ve spent curled up in my bed crying until my body ached as deeply as my heart. Those times make the good times SO much better. I’m okay with feeling the depths of sorrow because they give way to even more joy.
And I don’t do it alone.
And quite honestly, that’s the biggest part of the answer. I have my husband who provides me with space and time to work through things. I have friends, magnificent friends, many who I’ve made because of autism or Down syndrome (or both). They understand the heartaches, they understand the joys. Many have gone through what I’ve gone through, most have gone through much harder things. I’ve found from them that it’s never just autism. It’s never just Down syndrome. It’s cancer. It’s mental health. It’s money issues. It’s crappy spouses, mean families, and financial issues. It’s real life. I gain strength from their examples.
I would not have chosen this life for myself. I’m super glad I didn’t have that choice. My life isn’t the type you’d put in a magazine or a calendar. I don’t go gallivanting off to far away places. We don’t do fancy things. We don’t have fancy things. We just have a real life full of the full range of the human experience. Both the highs and the lows. And I’m grateful for that.