Interwoven

1 Apr

Our household is an…..entertaining one. Well, it’ll keep you on your toes. Okay, it keeps me on my toes, and I’ve been dancing the dance for 20 years here.

I joke that we’re a psych student’s dream, our household. I say that in a loving way. But dang if we don’t have our issues. And they affect everyone in the house.

Sure, there’s Maura with the Big D (that stands for Disabilities). Some days, our household has to revolve around her needs or moods. If she gets hurt, well, we’re a fine-oiled machine there, people scurrying to do what needs to be done. If she’s sick, the older three know that parental attention towards them may be lower. They know the rule to having friends over is that their friends have to treat Maura nicely. They don’t have to love Maura, but they have to be nice to her. And for the record, my teens friends have been great towards Maura. Seriously, faith in humanity and the next generation comes through my door on a weekly basis.

But Maura’s disability affects our household. I don’t mean that in a negative way. Just, well, matter-of-factly. Maura’s disabilities changed the household dynamics, and we learned to roll with it all. Someone helps her fix a plate at dinner, partially out of self-preservation because otherwise, Maura will pile ALL the food on her plate in typical youngest child grabbing whatever she can manner. I went to clean the blender last week after Sean made a smoothie, and he came running in, alarmed by the sound of the blender.

“Oh! Not Maura. Phew!”

Because we’ve all learned to run when we hear something suspicious.

Meanwhile, my older three kids have had to live with less of me, because I have to give more to Maura. Because my anxiety isn’t enough, I have to layer some mom guilt on top. Then I worry about how my anxiety affect all of them.

See, I’m not Supermom. I’m more Overwhelmed Mom. Anxiety is my sidekick. I had a decent handle on things until Maura. Then postpartum depression became depression became anxiety, became learning how to live with it all.

And I’m not good at juggling.

My kids have all rolled with it, and thrived despite it all. They don’t mind if we have pizza yet again for dinner, and I’ve given them permission to nag me about important stuff that they don’t want me forgetting. One will bring me chocolate. Another will make me tea. A third will just do what needs to be done without complaint.

I am really damn lucky to have my teens, as much as they’re currently trying to do my head in. They’re a great lot.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much things affect the family we have. Maura’s disabilities, my anxieties, they’ve become woven into the fabric of our family. Interwoven, accepted, and hung proudly on the wall like the work of art it is.

We are six people in this household, six individuals with six temperaments. If we were a tapestry, it would be full of bold bright colors that should clash but don’t. We’re a mixed media kind of family, and while it’s not for everyone, we pull it off beautifully. Sometimes messily, sometimes in a confusing way, but at the end of the day, impressive.

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2 Responses to “Interwoven”

  1. franhunne4u April 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    As unusual as living with Maura is – it is good for her siblings to learn to deal with things not going according to plan, to learn to behave responsibly, to learn to judge their friends not by the “street credibility” or their standing at school but how they behave to the weaker ones in society. They for sure come out stronger persons for that. Persons with a good score at emotional intelligence. With a sense of “contribution to a higher cause” – the family.

  2. JennyExplainsItAll.blogspot April 2, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Right, Fran? The truly wonderful side-effect of growing up with an atypical family situation (in this case, a sibling with disabilities) is that it becomes typical for the whole bunch. It isn’t weird or scary, it’s normal. Kids rise to the occasion and become the kind of compassionate adults who can handle curveballs because they’ve been pitched at them from an early age. You’ve got a terrific team!

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