Friday, October 31, 2008

Identity Crisis?

Hello fellow bloggers. It is a beautiful day here in Northwest Arkansas and I feel like I have been renewed. I began a new class last evening and welcome the new direction. I love being home with John and working with him. He brightens my day and makes me smile when I am down. But this new class has given me an outlet that I so desperately needed in my life in order to help bring balance to my world. It is so easy for us as parents of children with special needs to give the majority of our focus to our child which it has been easy to find myself doing these last 3 months. The time spent with John is not in regret. Both of us have learned so much and he has progressed a lot. But the mistake that I have made is not creating an outlet for myself away from John. He has consumed me in many ways - I talk about him, I work with him, I read about Ds on the internet, etc.

And this has caused me to step back and reevaluate my identity as a parent of a child with special needs. Am I going to let Johns Ds consume me and take on his problems as my own? When my friends and family see me, do they see me as an individual or as an advocate for Ds? I'm not sure that being an advocate for Ds is my role in life. I am me, Father of 5 beautiful children of which 1 just happens to have Ds and Husband of a beautiful wife. And this is what I need to be for the sake of the other relationships in my life and for my own emotional well-being.

John does take a lot of my time; probably more time than the typical baby this age would take. But there also needs to be times in my day where I am able to step away from the situation and maintain those connections to the typical world.

Thanks for reading. I have enjoyed writing down my thoughts and being challenged by some of you that have been on this road for a while. This particular blog today was inspired by my new friend from Virginia at the Bates Motel. Please go by and visit and tell her hello. I'm sure it would brighten her day.


Momma M said...

Not that I am *so* far ahead of you in this journey...but as time goes on, I find myself less focused on the idea of utilizing EVERY possible moment and letting myself just relax and enjoy the ride.

Jeanette said...

I have definitely jumped into the world of DS since the birth of my daughter, however having said that, I have also balanced that world with other things. I have quite my corporate job to stay at home earlier this year, so I am now at home with two kids. I also have a step son who is with us every other weekend. Although I do thing for the DS society, I have also taken on other social activities that are totally outside of the world of DS. Ds is part of our lives, but not the main focus. It is a balancing act to say the least. Provide the extra things to your child with special needs, yet keep you focus on the other children. I am glad that you are bad to classes. I think we all need something that is ours. (sorry, scattered thoughts in this comment)

Becca said...

Thank you for the mention, Jay!

Yes, you absolutely need balance and an outlet. My husband, being the stay-at-home dad, goes out a few nights a week to have a few beers and shoot some darts (he's English--what can I say?) to unwind and have some adult interaction. I have my fill of adult interaction at work each day, and my balance is getting to spend time with Samantha. I was elected to the Board of the local Ds association, but stepped down after about a year when I realized that it was taking away from the time I get to be a mom. My outlet now is my photography, my blog, and the now-annual development of the DSA's wall calendar. But you definitely need to keep things in perspective--it sounds like you've found an excellent source! You can define yourself in so many ways, not just one, and nobody and nothing gets short-changed in the process.