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A Double-Edged Sword

16 Comments 18 August 2010

My kids went back to school yesterday and it was a day that made me shout “Hallelujah” as I walked into my local Starbucks to meet my front porch group of friends, but it was also a day that had me crying myself to sleep.  How is that?  I was so excited for my youngest, my little punkin’ with special needs to go back to school as this summer has been especially hard on her and on us.  She simply doesn’t do well without the structure and predictability that school affords and I just can’t give her that in our life at home everyday during the summer.  It was very frustrating for her and it overwhelmed her and made her act out towards me and her siblings.

While she had great triumphs, as we increased her anti-anxiety meds and she rode in a BOAT, and then, hold on to your hat people, she went and rode the TUBE this past weekend!!!!  Yes, it was an amazing day and we still can’t get over it.  The pictures tell it all!  So, while the summer was hard, there were beautiful and exiting moments that made up for all of the hard times.  Watching MH have fun, watching her laugh and smile, well, there is nothing in the world like it…it is JOY multiplied!  But nonetheless, it was fantastic to get her back to a place she loves so dearly…her school and her teachers that she adores.

But in getting her to school, I am confronted with all of her little 5th grade peers.  This happens, inevitably every year.  I sit and listen to all of my dear friends talk about which teacher their kids got and and how excited they are or are not.  I look at first day of school photos.  I check homework for my best friend’s 5th grade daughter.  And in an instant, out of nowhere, I am overcome with it…grief.  It is really hard to explain.  It isn’t at all that I don’t love MH just as she is or that I want to wish away those moments of joy that I have with her.  It is just the simple reality that I grieve the pain that she endures, the difficulties and struggles that she must overcome on a daily, even hourly basis.  I grieve the multitude of ways that our family must bend and morph to accomodate her constantly changing moods and antics.  I grieve that she is vulnerable in ways that no one but me as her mother understands.  I grieve that she has to take all of this damn medicine every damn day just to not be unbearable to those around her. I grieve that she can’t sleep when she is exhausted.  And then I grieve that I grieve, because there is so much that is to love and appreciate about her.

It is a double-edged sword.  I cry because my baby is not perfect, but hell, neither am I.  I am just as broken as she is, but in different ways.  It is good to be loved in spite of that brokenness, just as I love MH, in spite of hers.

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16 Comments so far

  1. Cheryl says:

    This really hit home for me. Hugs to you. I know it’s hard. My son had physical limitations for many years and he will again eventually. It’s hard when your kid has special needs. I can see you really love her though and you sound so proud of the strides she’s made over the summer.

    Here’s to a fabulous new school year!

    • Jorja says:

      cheryl, thanks so much for your sweet reply! obviously you know all too well! i so appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  2. Judy Helfand says:

    Jorja,
    I have been away for a few days. I read your post this morning and I just had to take time to take it all in. I want you to know that my heart was literaly aching…for you and MH. But somehow I know your life stories will continue to blossom.
    I want to share a couple of thoughts…do you know Donald Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”? I actually won a copy of it from Chris Brogan a few months back. I wrote this post The Importance of Story in Your Life and received the book from Chris. This past week when I traveled I read the book. If you have not read it, you must.
    Finally, when you said the day made you shout “Hallelujah” I thought back to that wonderful song by Jeff Buckley. Here is my miracle for today, as I listened to the words of his song,”the holy dove was moving too…” I looked out my office window and there perched on the top of a pillar were two morning doves in a nest making love!

    Here’s to you, MH…and your family. Your stories are intertwined.

    Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

    Judy

    • Jorja says:

      judy, i have read donald miller’s blue like jazz, but i have yet to read his new book…i will get right on it! you know i am all about STORY! love you my sweet friend.

  3. angie says:

    thanks for sharing jorja. hooray for your triumphs, and your honesty.

    have you “met” tara whitney yet? if not, do: http://tarawhitney.com/justbeblogged/
    love her.

  4. Judy Baker says:

    I feel your pain! For the second year in a row, I’ve taken a personal leave of absence to spend time with Hannah so she does not spend hers sitting in the middle of the floor at a gym where all the kids are busy buzzing around her and playing with each other. Though they have been trying, the time has also been very rewarding and very telling. Cherish all the moments, good and bad, and celebrate that both you and MH can get back to a routine that fits your comfort zones. Hannah is happy to be back in school. So why am I miserable?

    • Jorja says:

      judy, glad you have been able to take time to be with hannah. it is such an in between kind of feeling…enjoying and loving all that is soooo good and yet never being exempt from that ache that remains in my heart for her and her struggles. one day, one day…i know we will all be made right, but until then we will live in the in between! love to you and i hope hannah has a great year!

  5. Pammer says:

    Here’s hoping The Grief slips away quickly and quietly — and The Routine brings back some peace and comfort for all.

    Sending good thoughts to all of you — hope it’s a great year!

    xo

    • Jorja says:

      sweet pammer, i too hope it slips away…and it usually does. it disappears as quickly as it comes and i forget about it until it rears it’s ugly head again. it is tricky like that, always lurking somewhere below the surface. she is a pistol, full of energy and questions and she makes me laugh a helluva lot more than she makes me cry! and yes, cheers to the routine, as it has already, in two days, brought that peace and comfort as she wakes-up in the morning saying, “i so excited to see miss sussman (her teacher)!” thanks for the love!

  6. It’s hard to think that the grief may never go away. I see so many parents write that they wouldn’t change their kids and I wonder if I will ever get there. Obviously I love my kids immensely but I wish it wasn’t so hard for them, for me, for all of us.

    And yes, yes, yes for back to school. I am petitioning for ESY for Desmonda next summer. She fell apart when school ended.

    • Jorja says:

      kate, love the name of your blog…and yes, they are ALL so cute when they are sleeping-HA!!! i just wrote it to someone else, but it is true, it doesn’t really ever go away, it lurks and then appears out of nowhere…the grief! and truth be told, if we are truly honest…we would change them, we would make them whole and healthy and give them every capacity that they lack…who wouldn’t??? but i think when we say that we we wouldn’t change them, we wouldn’t change “who they are” their little personhood? or at least that is what i think i mean…but i would take away her struggles and ours in a ny minute if i could! so i know exactly what you mean! we get only 2 weeks of esy and it sucks…i wish we had year-round school! yeah, i said it alabama…i do!

  7. elizabeth dortch says:

    I LOVE YOU. that’s all I got.

  8. Julie Davis says:

    Hey Jorja!! I read your blog today and it did make me feel your pain. I know each day is a oxymoron: a struggle filled with joy!! We just took our oldest off to college. Yes, you read it right, college!! I cant believe it either. It definitly changes the family dynamics. I have to remind myself that this is what our goal is… to raise them and let them go out into the world. Jules

    • Jorja says:

      julie, julie, julie…damn, damn, damn…i can’t believe that child is in college! you are old, i mean wise! ha! yes my dear, it is our goal…to let the go into the world…to find their own voice and to be who they were meant to be! cheers to katherine! and to you and scott!


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things to make you wonder~

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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