In case you missed it, Anissa started writing again.
I’ve been a tad occupied with work, kids, wife and all things in between, so I haven’t posted lately. Apologies. I also wanted her to have a chance to get her “voice” going again. She’s going to write over there, and I’m going to keep writing over here. I need it. It’s my only real therapy that I make/have the time for. It’s been too helpful for me throughout all of this. I can’t guarantee the frequency with which I’ll post, but stay tuned true believer, I won’t quit. I may move to my own blog for other things later on, but right now, my family is still in need of our lighthouse beacon, so I’m writing here.
You guys should see my cutting room floor, also known as my car. Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m literally the son of a preacher man. I remember driving with my dad to church on Sundays and he’d be writing his sermon while in the car. He was a procrastinator ahead of his time. Probably the first ever texting/driver. Not that it’s a good practice mind you. He once got pulled over for going too slow. Anyway, the point I’m trying to get to is that I think about writing when I drive, mainly because I learned it from watching my dad. I’ve been working on an “I talk it types” sort of thing for the car off and on. It not being a finished product, I’ve got to improvise, so I simply think when I drive and jot down notes later in the day.
I had planned to post a few weeks ago when I started running out of mental gas.
After my last post, I got a text from a friend of mine who sat next to me in kindergarten, (technically he spit in my face on that first day…he’ll say different…but he’s wrong), and we’ve been friends ever since. The point is, he’s one of those life long friends who tend to know you better than you do. Among other things, he said, something along the lines of, “hey, I know it’s probably not as rosey as it seems, but…”
Well. He’s right. It’s not perfect. It probably won’t be perfect for quite some time. By my estimate, if this were a football game, I’d say we’re just finishing up the first quarter…of course that first quarter lasted 5 months…do the math…I’m a little burnt out, but beginning to get my second wind. This may sound strange, but for the past few months, health-wise, I’ve felt pretty darn good. I’ve been eating well, but not sleeping well, or just unplugging and taking time for me. Mainly because I can’t. I don’t really get to. Ever. If Anissa doesn’t need me, it’s the kids, or work, or some emergency of the day. We have had friends cycling through here on and off. Right now, I’ve got fairly good coverage through May 21. It gets spotty after that. The thing about it though, is I want to make sure the person coming in is able to handle everything we’ve got going on. As much as they help, and they do, immensely, I have to explain things to everyone, and every week, it’s someone new for the kids to get to know, and for that person to get comfortable with being around Anissa. Plus, we’re dealing with a moving target on her getting better. It’s not like I can write up a standard “Care for Anissa” Handbook like I’d do at work. Generally, I’m asleep by midnight-1, up by 6-ish on therapy days.
Here’s a typical therapy day: Wake up, shower, get the kids moving, get the wife moving, swallow coffee…ah sweet coffee…make a mental checklist of stuff to do that day, get Anissa’s meds, pack the lunches, get the kids to school, take Anissa to therapy, go to work, pick Anissa up from therapy, drive her home, get her in bed for a nap, breathe, kids get home from school, hug, log back in to work, work until dinner while making sure homework is done and hooking her up to an e-stim device, sign agendas and check homework, get the kids in their bath, enjoy decaf….ah sweet coffee…get kids in bed, get Anissa a bath, get her in bed, give meds, put on her splints, turn out the lights, breathe…what was that emergency at 4? Re-read emails to figure it out, look at bills, turn on the tv, pass out halfway through a 30 minute show, wake up to infomercials, think about buying something, remember that souring laundry, stumble to bed.
Repeat as necessary.
Things to remember along the way:
- Your kids are watching you. Set a good example.
- Take time for you.
- Dream once in a while.
Exhaustion is a common phrase experienced around the Mayhew household these days.
I was talking to my aunt Eileen about this a few days ago, trying to explain what I’m going through. She asked me what I thought would help. I thought about it for a minute. I could think of 2 things off the top of my head, only one of which is remotely feasible:
Work with me on this one. When I was younger, I played soccer in my home town of Owosso, MI. I played it for about 20 years, give or take. I haven’t been back in years, but I think I still have the record in my high school for the longest goal. I got lucky and caught a pretty roller at the right time and absolutely drilled it into a driving rain from midfield. It caught the goalie by surprise and I got my name in the paper on a big win. I was literally just trying to get the ball back in front of the goal so one of our guys could do something creative. In all honesty, when I played, I was probably mediocre with an occasional flash of brilliance/luck/dirty play at best, but I always played with passion, raw emotion and fun. I think mainly because that’s when I felt the most free.
One of the first games I remember, I was on a very young (probably 8 or 10 ) travel team that went to the big city and got crushed 26-0 or something like that. Friggin Saginaw and their pretty uniforms. A few years later, the core of our team had pretty much stayed together, but we were still getting beat by the really good teams. Until one day, when we were probably between 14 and 16, we got a new sponsor, a new coach, and a new mindset. The sponsor was US Brick, and they donated these el cheapo t-shirts with numbers on them. No names, just numbers. I still have mine in the closet I think. We had to wear our own shorts and socks, so we looked like a rag tag group of misfits compared to the teams we were playing against. Even worse, we played like a rag tag group of misfits too. After watching us practice/goof off/fight amongst each other a few times, the new coach huddled us together and said that we simply weren’t good enough to play on this big field. I think his exact words were that we didn’t deserve to be there and we needed to go over to the kiddie field across the street. Some guys left in a teenage huff. Some of us listened, and begrudgingly went over to that little field. It had the dinkiest little goals, and the field itself was tiny and uneven.
Over the next few weeks, that was where we started figuring things out on our own: how to get open, how to be extremely accurate with our passes, how to handle the ball very well, how to cover and recover, and how to bend/break the rules without getting caught. We also started liking our rag tag look and sponsor. It fit us. That “Brick” became the nickname of our defense, and we tended to take on that mentality when we played. In short, that’s where we gained some self respect and learned to be a team. It didn’t matter what else was going on with your life, some kids’ parents were getting divorced, some had lost their jobs, some had other things to deal with, but not on that field. That’s where friendships were forged. Over the years, that field meant the world to us, spring, summer and fall. It was our little haven. It was a place where we figured things out on our own. Our sandlot. It’s where we learned to stand on our own 2 feet and not be pushed around. It’s where we learned to hold our own.
That’s not always an easy thing to do in any life situation.
I’d give anything to be 16 again and to be able to just go play ball with those same guys for an afternoon right now. Just play until we drop, then sit around, drenched in sweat, chugging gatorade and talking about life or the game or whatever. Of course, I’d probably have a coronary if I made one run right now, and it’d be WAY slow.
Seeing as how being 16 isn’t exactly a possibility, I’m going to apply for an Extreme Home Makeover.
That’s the kind of help that would really make a difference. Maybe get some decent therapy equipment in here, or maybe help pick up the tab on the rest of our outpatient therapy. Maybe help her being able to tuck the kids in at night, or help me not bang her into every damn doorway in this house. I don’t know. I just know that the 40 days of therapy per year is coming up awfully soon and we’re not ready yet. I have the written application finally filled out to completion. I’ll be including the videos you guys have made for us over the past few months. If anyone wants to do a nomination video, I would greatly appreciate it, just send it over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I figure it’s worth a shot and maybe we’ve got a 1 in 10 chance at it.
I don’t have all the answers on this one, but I’m just trying to figure it out as I go and learning to stand on my own 2 feet in yet another life challenge.