running

I Never Have Been One To Give Up

Late October of last year I was having a crummy day and took off for a run. I needed the fresh air and movement to calm my mind, and I don’t use the word need lightly. There’s nothing absolutely nothing like a run to organize both my thoughts and my day and give a hefty lift to my spirit.

At the end of my run I limped up the driveway and decided to call the doctor and take a month or so off, just for good measure. The crankiness in my knee was becoming downright ticked off, and running was the obvious culprit.

Fast forward to today, a year later, and I have attempted two runs since then.

Darn.

In August, I decided to quit going for walks too.

I had been beyond worried that it would be a surgical case, that I’d be laid up for several weeks. Instead it’s a complex scenario of bursitis, patellofemoral syndrome and IT band syndrome. None of them are particularly severe, but none are readily treatable.

We tried two different types of injections in two different places, and I’m none the better for them.

What more is there to do but rest? This particular malady, or combination of them, isn’t awful, in fact, when I just sit around, it calms right down.

Alas, that’s easier said than done. Running not only keeps my mind on track, it tones and sculpts my body. It’s my go-to for managing stress, grief, joy, frustration, my ADHD and my weight and health. I have literally been self-medicating every part of my physical and mental health with intense and prolonged exercise. It’s like the snake oil of yesteryear, guaranteed to fix everything from the vapors to sleep.

And now, like dust in the wind, it’s gone.

Not that there is such a thing as good timing, but during the first year after losing our daughter to an overdose, I was in a lousy position for losing my primary coping mechanism.

I prefer to keep a positive attitude, but in this case, I have been just plain pouty. I’ve lost my ability to run in the past, and against the odds, worked my butt off getting back on my feet. I just wonder aloud why me, when there are millions of people who would no sooner run than be swarmed by bees. A knee that only gets cranky with exercise would be no burden to many, why, once again, do I have to suck it up and give up something that I love and that’s good for me in so many ways?!

I won’t BS you and try to say that I understand any of this. But I will tell you that I’m not about to stay down.

Instead I’ve been seeing a counselor and learning new and more coping skills. I’ve developed many new hobbies like collecting maple sap and making syrup and tending chickens, as well as cultivating my largest and most productive garden yet and canning and freezing the bounty.

I’ve enjoyed living the slower pace of homesteading, and it’s indubitaly beneficial to have my pocket full of coping skills to better equip me for whatever life throws at me.

But. . .

I won’t give up on running.

My shoes have moved to the back shelf in the garage, and they’re mighty dusty, yet I’m clinging to them with just a tiny glimmer of hope.

I never have been one to give up on anything.

advocacy · Down syndrome · Uncategorized

Down Syndrome Awareness is Not Just For Little Ones

When my son Alex was first born, I felt compelled to make sure everyone in our lives knew just how precious he was. I enjoyed great success, but in retrospect, Alex made it easy. Babies with Down syndrome are often adorable, and Alex was no exception. He made my advocacy job easy, and after awhile, considering my success, I relaxed a bit on the advocacy. There were IEP meetings, and plenty of parenting tasks to take up my time, so campaigning for the acceptance he already enjoyed seemed somewhat superfluous.

Fast forward 16 years, and Alex has hairy legs and armpits, a deep voice, and is almost my height. As any mother does, I still think he’s the most spectacular child in the world, and as cute as ever. However, when you add in significant speech and social skills delays, compounded by the already interesting early teen phase, he often doesn’t get the warm public reception he once did.

But as Alex’s mom, I want to tell you that he is the most thoughtful young man I know. Every single day he asks young man I know. Every single day he asks me how my day was, and even actually listens to my answer. He loves nothing more than cooking, except eating, and will cheerfully lend a hand to anyone who asks.

Alex is a gamer extraordinaire, and can beat just about everyone he knows in almost any game. He can throw an awesome spiral with a football, and hit a home run in baseball. (He gets his athleticism from his father, not me.)

Alex deserves awareness too, just as much as the older teens and adults do. People with Down syndrome are diverse, interesting and valuable as members of our communities. They have desires and interests, and live full, active, productive lives. More and more they are branching out into careers as actors, models, business owners, and contributing their considerable gifts the the communities where they reside, and their communities are better for it.

Uncategorized

I often feel it almost impossible to convey what it’s like to be the primary caregiver of a child with complex needs. Sometimes when I post things, people say they get it, but the simple fact that they think they do, speaks to just how much they don’t.

My son is 12, but we joke that he’s like an infant or a two-year-old, but the truth is that it’s more like both an infant and a two-year-old together and then some.

Exhibit A:

This was my night’s sleep, my husband was up both with means a few times separately.