“What is on your mind?” exhorts Facebook when I turn to my phone in a moment of despair
“Craptastic (pun intended)” I type and then backspace, watching each letter and my life disappear into an unseen void.
My fingers are smudged with dosa batter drying into a white powder that flakes off as my hands move with a rhythm of its own. I swap windows and type into Twitter instead.
I figure this is the closest equivalent of a silent scream.
An hour earlier, I raged and dissolved into tears, the big, fat kind that fell on my cotton shirt and spread into a pool of wet that became a pattern of its own. One child came and hugged me, her body trying to absorb some of the sorrow and the helplessness I feel.
“I am sorry,” we both say, the words cancelling each other out.
It occurs to me that we exist, a circle of kindred souls, the special needs moms worldwide who are veterans of the silent scream, the angst filled nights, the worries about the future that stain the present. The beleaguered group of women furiously researching, reading and arming themselves to protect their spawn from the vagaries of a world that sees in one of two lenses: normal, not normal.
As my body calms down, my breathing eases, my throat itches and the tears have dried, I realize I am not alone. For every parent out there wondering why their child hasn’t aced the spelling bee or scored straight A’s in every subject, there are people like me just happy that the day was good, that their child came home happy, that they ate their lunch, that they remembered to pack their homework, that they actually focused and worked on Math for 20 minutes at a time. For every parent with dreams of college and scholarships, there are parents like me hoping and praying for a life that is functional. Good friends, family, staying power in relationships, the ability to hold down a job. For every parent complaining that their child is not as organized as the Joneses, there are parents spelling out each instruction, waiting until one is completed before issuing the next. There are mirrors with sticky notes, there is an insane amount of observation to ensure the most basic of human needs are met.
So, you, the mother struggling with discipline, with tears threatening to drown you in the parking lot as you sit a full five minutes at the wheel so you can regain your composure, I feel you. I know your pain. I understand where you are at. You, the mother wondering if ever you can take off the crown of responsibility you wear, even just for a while, I feel you. You are not alone.
As I tell myself, I tell you too. You are human. You are flawed. You are permitted to cry and rage. Take a timeout. Take two even. Life may not come with reset buttons, but it sure allows you to let the past be in the past. Start over. Intentions count as do actions. It really is OK. You will be OK. Your children will be OK.