October 29 Olive came to stay at our house.
Abby decided she wanted to get her at 11:30. I had said before lunch would be good so it was before Jason needed to nap. Abby was excited but the change and excitement only flared her issues and compulsions. She needed to shower which means she is stressed and it brings her more stress. Thins have to be exact with towel placement and soap and there is no way to accurately describe the experience. (Her issues look very much like OCD and we have been working with professionals and with her but not labeling her.)
Our children mirror us. Their issues mirror ours. I become compulsive and rule oriented when I am stressed. I even beginning cleaning when I am stressed (cleaning is not my thing, I would sooner be writing or outside mowing the yard or doing anything other than cleaning my house). So when Abby’s issues flare up, I in turn, become more stressed. It is a challenge and one that I have been working on as well. There is much more background to all of this but I add it here to paint the picture as best I can without rambling on endlessly.
Somehow we got past the “getting ready” part and over the fact that it was past 11:30 when we went to get Olive. Somehow, I had added the stress of going to the park with Olive after we got her and ate some lunch. Sounds insane but Jason needed play time outside as did Abby and Olive. My friend had contacted me about meeting at a park and was willing to drive to a park 5 minutes from my house. I tend to function well on spontaneuity. I needed to get out and be around adult friends. My son would get to see his friend even though he was stressed over the time because Dad, (my husband, Don) was coming home at 2:30 to take him out selling popcorn for Boy Scouts. The last week to sell and my son was coming close to his goal of selling $2500 in popcorn which was the amount needed to qualify for a scholarship account.
Don’s the salesman, and like father like son. They both enjoy it and the time together. Power to them. Selling is not my thing. I would rather be cleaning my house than out selling popcorn. Scheduled, punctual, orderly….these are words that describe my husband, not me. My son thrives on “scheduled” and has always been time conscious. My lack of sense of time, how much time it takes to do things, is one of my biggest challenges.
I agree to go to the park about 1pm, letting my friend know clearly that we could be late or a no-show. (I have learned to live in the moment from this experience with my daughter and have been a maybe to most events to avoid the pressure of feeling like “we have to get there on time”.) I figure we can stay until 2:30 and get home so the boys can go out selling popcorn. Sounded reasonable.
I talk to my friend just before 1pm, she is just leaving, one other friend will join us at the park. I need to feed everyone and then go. I have Harrison call her back 10 minutes later to have her pick him up so he can go hang with his friend and I have no pressure of when we leave. We eat and about 20 munutes later, they pick him up and I wonder, why did I just send my biggest help out of the house? I don’t make the best decisions when I am stressed.
Somehow, we make it out of the house about 10 minutes later, dog crated in the back of the car, kids buckled, water bottles and even some snacks.
We are homeschoolers who have come to enjoy the freedom and luxury of going to the park on a weekday and having the park almost to ourselves. When we got to the park it was apparent that either large amounts of homeschoolers had all come out at once or school was out. More people at the park and more dogs.
I am comfortable with Olive around other people, other dogs, not so sure. My friend had her dog, they even looked a lot a like, but he got too personal with her and she let him know she didn’t like it. Might be all normal dog behavior but a growling dog on a leash held by an 8-year-old who is not quite strong enough to handle her when she pulls really hard and me needing to watch the busy always in motion 21 month old who was too close to the growling dog for my comfort…. Was I crazy?
Crazy for taking on this dog and going to the park our first day? But my friends were there and boy did I need to talk. I like to get out of the house when I am stressed and getting out with my friends has not been easy lately. I was so glad to be there. Talking to my friends, while keeping an eye on Jason who decided to walk around on the 6 inch wide concrete blocks that form a wall around some playground equipment. It is built into a hill and so in some areas the concrete blocks are maybe 6 inches from the ground on the opposite side but at the highest point it is about a 3 foot drop. Did I say I have an issue with heights and Jason has no fear of heights? Not that this is about heights, just the thought of him falling on the concrete blocks a distance of 3 feet brings to mind head injury. Did I mention I used to work at a rehabilitation hospital with head injury patients? I worked with adults not on the pediatric unit but when I see rocks, there is neural connection in my brain to head injury.
I was enjoying myself and at first Abby walked around with the dog and even talked with one of the girls of my friend, someone she knows but is new to us, and new people are not Abby’s thing unlike me who loves meeting new people. But then, Abby was ready to go and nervous to walk around with the other dogs present and being crowded with people. And I was finally enjoying talking with my friends in between chasing Jason who would suddenly dart off into the woods where there is a small creek area, dry but there are rocks!
And then it was 2:15 and Harrison approached insisting I call Don and it was time to go home. I was not ready to go home. I was finally out of the house and with two friends who I really enjoyed talking to and Jason was reasonably content. I talk to my husband who is a bit upset because I knew they had plans to go out and sell. He had planned this a week ago, it was on the calendar. Ugh…I knew all of this of course, but I needed to be out with my friends. I needed it for my sanity. My sanity is essential to the sanity of my family.
My husband gave in as he has learned to do and agreed to get Harrison’s scout shirt from the house and meet us at the park and then take the popcorn out of the van and move it to the Corolla and loose about 20 minutes of selling time.
Relieved? No, I felt guilty. I am working on that. I need to take care of me. I can’t forget about my sanity and my needs. We all know what that looks like. So they come and go and Abby is standing there ready to leave. She doesn’t want to take the dog to the car, or walk her or… In a huff, I bring the dog to the car. Why do we have a dog?
I want to talk without my daughter standing over my shoulder. I give her missions to check on the dog, I offer to stand so I can watch her. The car is parked facing the park entrance and very close by. I mange to get a few minutes or so without her standing over me. I tell her 15 minutes, 3:00, but forget to make it clear that I want 15 minutes without her glued to my side.
We leave about 3:15. I am calmer. I had time out and go to talk more than I usually do. Jason falls asleep in the car on the way home.