Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Elephants in Our Head

STM just came home from a week of doing Cycle Oregon, a grueling 500 mile ride that takes place over seven days. Each night he camped in a tiny tent with a sleeping bag in 25 degree weather, got up, rode 80 some miles, rested, and did it all over again the next day.

Had a ball.

Went with two friends (a married couple), and met a lot of nice people along the way. Came home and said the sexiest words he's ever said to me, "Riding 80 miles a day is a piece of cake compared to being the one that stayed here and ran the show for a week."

It's quite a show we run, and it has us both, well, running. I know many of you blog readers know all about running the special needs show, but raising all kids is complicated and exhausting, period.

STM's friends talked about their kids, two active almost teenagers. The parents both work full-time and between all the kids' after-school activities it's 8:30 or 9:00 before they all sit down to eat dinner. STM learned a lot about their day-to-day life over the course of the week. I asked if he shared much about our life. He said no.

"They don't know what to ask," he said, "and I didn't want to tell them more than they want to know. Unless you live it, it's really hard to get."

And I get that.

I will say this to you parents of only typicals, however, it's okay to ask us about our lives. We can always tell the difference between genuine interest and idle curiosity. It's okay if you bumble around and say the "wrong" thing, we appreciate you wanting to know. You see, that allows us to talk about the elephants in our head, the one thing that takes up most of our thoughts, time and energy. To not ask us about that will cut you off from who we are. You will only know a tiny fraction of us if you don't know about what it's like to raise our special children.

We thank you for trying to be sensitive. We appreciate that you don't want to say the wrong thing. We appreciate that you don't want to make us talk about something that we don't want to talk about, but we do want to talk about it. And if you will let us, you will then, and only then, know us.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

you know i love this. of course i do. it's so hard to find the balance with friends - even the ones who get it, but don't necessarily GET it, you know? of course you do.

Wanda said...

You know I love you and your elephants. I love! elephants. (And I love that STM said those sexy words to you.)

Amber said...

His words = *swoon* :)

Thank you for being so open, and letting us all know. I think what you say is so true. My best friend has her son Q-man, and she "deals" with life so well that people don't even know what a huge job it is... Or how much of her goes into it. Or, so, WHO she really is.

I know I am honored to know a little about your life, and that is true of all the moms of special needs kids I know (too many btw)... because you teach when you share. But mostly those special kids picked really special moms, who are just amazing friends and people to know.


Laura said...

It is the same with being chronically ill...sometimes friends just stop calling...they don't want to bother me...don't know what to say...besides, you look great!...My niece has several disabling characteristics in her "wiring" for lack of a diagnosis...and I know for my sister, asking her what's new...what have her daughter's achievements been today/this week...what have been the struggles....it allows us to laugh and cry together...it helps her so much because most people just don't ask about that sweet 17 year old elephant in her head/heart/home.

so, how are you and your family today Carrie?

Elizabeth said...

Oh, yeah. Those elephants...

Alicia D said...

LOVE this! i love the way you said it, so much better than i could. i feel the exact same way.

Deb Shucka said...

This sounds like a great title for a book, you know. One of your many gifts is your ability to help us all see those elephants - and to love them.

deb said...

guilty as charged.
and for some reason I do often feel that there are so many wrong and insensitive things to say that to keep quiet is easier. And this seems to be magnified now that I read blogs where parents are venting about said stupid things people said.

nor do I want the elephant to define the person any more than they do.

I have encountered a slight bit of this in regards to having 5 kids which is sort of uncommon. Everyone stops their rant and whine re shoes at the front door, homework , bedtimes, etc because of course they have it easy compared to me. So then I'm no fun as a stitch and bitch partner. ( nor do I hubby bash, but that's another story ).

A dear friend who has a son with autism says she likes coming over to hear my teenage drama woes because she is so involved in all things autism etc that she doesn't want to talk about it.
and another who is a grandfather to one, and he has come to trust me as a safe place to just be honest and say how it sucks sometimes. Because of course it does.

it's strange. We humans are a sorry bunch . And sometimes we are okay. I hope.

love you.

kario said...

Love your point of view, my friend.

Love STM's appreciation of you and all that you do.

Love hearing about your life cuz it makes you who you are and reveals all of those lovely things that you feel so passionate about.

Love you.

Kim said...

Yes, yes, yes. I love how you've put this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your helpful Post, I hope you have a good day!. :)
You nicely summed up the issue. I would add that this doesn’t exactly concenplate often. xD Anyway, good post…