Life is never easy. That is extremely true. When you are given some challenges it's up to you to decide how you will handle these challenges. To you tackle them head on? Do you crumble and cry? Do you run? I tend to do all the above.
I am a single parent of an amazing nine year old who has a traumatic brain injury from being shaken and slammed by a previous caregiver when she was 11 months old. This injury was devastating- my child could no longer sit up, swallow, or even smile. She was in a coma for nearly three weeks and endured an intensive hospital stay for two months, with one of those months being in neuro-rehabilitation. Nearly nine years after the fact, she is walking, talking, making her own decisions and screams with joy when she sees Justin Bieber. Considering the severity of her brain injury, she's doing very, very well. She's a boy crazy nine year old who doesn't realize she has disabilities. To her? This is how she is. Her left arm has no real purposeful movemens and she has a weakened left leg. She has learning delays- she functions at about 6-7 year old level at this point but her happiness is palpable. The excitement she gets over little things is so contagious.
I have struggled with having a good work and life balance. Since I am the only one, it's hard. I have to get her to physical, occupation and speech therapies at 7 am, then rush her to school and then rush myself to my job. She has an after school program for special needs that teaches life skills that gets her home a bit late. We eat dinner, talk about our days, have some down time and then it's shower time and bed time. During the summer, she has a caregiver to take care of her in the first half of the day until her program picks her up. I also completed my college degree recently. It made for extremely late nights and not enough sleep but we pulled through.
I had to make choices. Do I clean my house and keep it spotless or do I spend time with my child? Time is precious. My baseboards could wait. Scrubbing my cabinets? That could wait. Now that I am finished with my degree- I can do the things that were neglected.
Now. I have a new challenge. My caregiver just notified me that she will not be able to care for my child for the entire summer. This is devastating news. I have less than a week to find AND train a new caregiver or I must leave my job. If I have to choose- the choice is a no brainer. My child comes first.
My daughter comes first.