It’s been 11 weeks today. That fact didn’t occur to me until I sat down to write. Eleven weeks of putting one foot in front of the other. Eleven weeks of successes and setbacks. Eleven weeks of parenting alone. Eleven weeks of homework and housework, listening and laughing, crying and coping. In other words, eleven weeks of life just keeping moving forward since Kraig died.
Today was a busy day. There were errands and chores, meetings with friends, and even a trip into the office. I’m a radio DJ and we had a meeting in addition to me needing to track (record my shows, for all you non-DJs). I finished all of this up and headed to my afternoon insanity—after-school juggling with four kids in three schools.
I’ve gotten it down to a science. Pick up Lucy from Kindergarten down the street at 2:45. Arrive home and wait for Ryan and Kati to return by 3:10. They walk. Then at 3:25 head off to the high school to get Jarod so he won’t have to wait. Jarod enjoys the one-on-one time to decompress with me about his day on the drive home.
Except today didn’t happen like that. Because life is unpredictable.
Today Ryan was having a bad autism day. When 3:25 rolled around, I was still missing two middle-schoolers. I called up to the school and discovered Ryan was having a major meltdown and his special ed teacher, bless her, never lets him leave until he’s calm. I told them I’d be right up. We’d be late to get Jarod but there wasn’t anything to be done about that.
I told Kati, waiting patiently for her brother by the office counter, to head outside to the van with Lucy. Ryan was in an office with two caring adults trying to help him calm the sobs. The lights were out. I was so torn between the child I knew would be waiting, wondering where I was, and the child in front of me hurting and unable to calm himself. He wasn’t doing this on purpose.
I texted Jarod while Ryan and his teacher explained to me the cause of the sobs and tears running down his blotchy, red face. He’d been crying a while. “Ryan’s having a meltdown. Be right there.” I prayed Jarod checked his cell phone. He only uses it to call me. It’s rarely on.
When Ryan was still struggling to tell me what was wrong, I realized I had planned to go get Jarod’s newly repaired pocket watch from the shop on the way home from getting him. He’d be thrilled. Now how to occupy all four. “Ryan, would Happy Hour at Sonic for some slushies help?” The tears stopped so fast the teachers laughed out loud. “Sonic?” Ryan perked up. Yes, I assured him, but we needed to go now. Jarod would be waiting and we didn’t want him to think mom had forgotten him.
Ryan calmed and I thanked the teachers. We rushed to the high school to find Jarod, waiting and looking upset. He’d left his cell phone at home. He had indeed worried I’d forgotten him. Plus his day had been exhaustively long and full of high school stress. I apologized. He understands having a brother with autism often means meltdowns delaying things. But his shoulders still sank in a resigned way. What’re ya gonna do? they seemed to say.
We headed to Sonic. Gotta love Happy Hour. Five slushies for $4.33. That’s craft fair money put to good use, honestly. And it let me leave the three younger kids in the van and take just Jarod in to retrieve his newly repaired pocket watch—his pride and joy. It’s over 100 years old and he bought it with his own money. But he fell on it last week, shattering the crystal (the glass, for you non-steampunk fans). Grandpa offered to pay for the repair.
As a result of this chaos, we deemed it “what can we find in the freezer and fridge” for dinner tonight. There are still baths and showers to be accomplished. Rooms to be tidied and laundry to be folded and homework attacked.
And just like that, another day is done. Life goes on.
In the back of my mind it doesn’t seem right that life is just going on…but I know it is. I’m not sad for Kraig. He’s in a place with no meltdowns, no schedules, no work. And it’s my job to keep doing all those things down here. Today we did. Today I put one foot in front of the other. I tried my best to be a good mom. I talked to God often about how that should work. I pray He’ll give the kids supernatural understanding beyond their years when Mom is pulled in too many directions at once and they must be patient. And I trust He will help me get through tomorrow just like I got through today.