Well, another school holidays are over and another all-too-short a break has been had. And I am more exhausted than ever.
I don’t know about you, but it’s only when I stop – if only briefly – that I ever have time to think about my life. And the outcome is almost always the same. I vow to change things. My life is complicated. I find it difficult, but I can’t change it, so I will do better. I’ll be more organised. I’ll fit in more ‘me time’. I’ll change the world while I’m at it, too … Of course, I never achieve any of these things.
This holiday has hit me harder than usual. I’m not entirely sure why. A combination of things most likely. I had to work a chunk of the Easter holidays and The Grumposaur was away with work for 10 days. Extra pairs of hands come in handy round here, and were missed, especially at the moment. You see, I have a really bad back. Carer’s back, the doctor called it. The bottom right side of my spine (around which is a huge muscle knot that won’t shift) is in agony without generous doses of co-codamol and ibuprofen. I have been assigned a lovely physio, who called my range of movement (which I thought good, ‘pretty appalling’) and who has given me exercises to do. Not lifting Boo – ‘the best piece of advice I could give you but I know you can’t take’, the physio said – is not an option.
Then there’s the fact that it’s been Easter. Easter’s hard for us. And the fact that this tricksy holiday moves around makes it harder still. The year Boo was born, it followed just days after his untimely arrival. On Easter Sunday 2012, we thought he would die of the infection that caused his brain injury. I will never forgive you for that, Easter, no matter how much chocolate arrives in the post. (I was never that fond of chocolate anyway). And this year I am crosser than ever that Easter made me wait three weeks after Boo’s birthday (a lovely but difficult day) until it came along to make me feel again the overwhelming fear I felt two years ago. Enough already.
And then there’s the fact that I have been forgetting things. This is really, really, really bothering me at the moment. Ever such a lot. I have forgotten to pay the Grumposaur’s credit card bill on time for two months in a row. It’s not that we didn’t have the money to pay it in full. We did. I just forgot and have the lovely overdue fees to pay for my stupidity.
I never used to forget things like this. I have – I mean, had – one of those brains where dates, numbers, birthdays etc. were all stored away and, as if I had Google Calendar in my head, I would get mental alerts about 3 days before I had to buy a card or pay a bill and that was that. Yes, I was that annoying. I used to annoy myself.
Not now, though. Now, I have a paper diary and a calendar and write myself a note once a week to update it, because otherwise I would forget to. I write myself post-its and send myself iPhone alerts to remind me to do the most mundane things. The day I have to send myself an alert at 6:45 to brush my teeth is not far away.
I haven’t forgotten everything, but it’s like the hard drive has been saturated with Boo files and there’s no more storage space and no disk drive to conjure additional memory. I can remember the dates of most of Boo’s many appointments for the next 3 months. Ask me when and where his 2-year review is in June and I can tell you. Ask me to tell you the number of paediatric physio (even though I have only ever rung it twice) and I can recite it backwards. But I forgot my best friend’s youngest daughter’s birthday in February. And I can’t remember what I have to prepare for the meeting I have at work tomorrow. Really, I can’t.
Frankly, this all makes me feel terrible. It makes me feel like a failure. A complete and utter failure. I don’t feel I can rely on myself any more. I feel as if my life is a mess.
I write to-do lists to help. They don’t. I wrote one out last night (after doing all the school admin I had left until the very last minute) and cried. I actually cried. Because none of it looks manageable to me at all. I have a long work list, with a couple of stressful and big projects that have to be completed imminently.
In order to do them, I need to declutter my brain a bit. But how? After all, there’s the Boo list. Gosh this is long. There are equipment and referrals I need to chase, and money that needs to be saved, info and long-overdue updates I need, not to mention the big long list of people to contact following Boo’s TAC meeting as we start researching schooling. And then I remember the therapy goals we have been set and remember that I haven’t done crawling with Boo for days, despite doing physio with him daily, and haven’t practised blowing for weeks. And Sissyboo has stuff going on, too, especially with a big dance show she’s doing in two weeks. On that to do list is a make-up purchase list (I know, it makes me feel sick too) so she can be seen under the theatre lights. She will have more make up than I have ever owned by the end of our shopping trip.
And there’s the house, of course. Paying those bills I can’t remember to pay any more, sorting out contents insurance and persuading people to put Boo’s adapted buggy on it, when wheelchair services finally tell me how much it’s worth. Just keeping on top of the tidying and cleaning (I so need a cleaner, please let me get a cleaner one day) not to mention the laundry post the Grumposaur’s case of Easter food poisoning feels like it’s beyond me.
The holidays are over and I want a break. From my life. That sounds awful, doesn’t it? But it’s true. It probably won’t be true tomorrow. If I’ve learned one thing since having Boo is that life and your attitudes to it can change rapidly, and just when you’re about to give up on something, things often turn around. And if my back gets better and I can run again, just to get that hour or so sanity saving break I need each week then I’m sure I’ll feel a whole lot happier.
But just in case things don’t change, maybe I’ll put ‘Take a break’ on my to do list. You never know. One day I might be able to tick it off that pesky list.