I find myself pulled and stretched too thin.
I am many things.
I'm a firefighter. I used to be a good firefighter. I know wildland tactics. I'm good at motor vehicle crash incidents. I love the technicality of extrication. But for the past while, I have barely made any calls. I sometimes hear the "guys" go out. And I miss it. Firefighting used to be such a big part of my life. I loved the training. I loved the calls. I loved the community. Yes, I miss it.
I'm a social worker. I have a Master's degree in social work. I'm good at listening to a person. Really listening. And I'm good at finding resources. I'm good at helping a person or group find and work from a point of strength. But I don't work these days. And I miss it. I miss using my strengths. I miss helping people. And yes, I miss getting paid.
I'm a musician. I play fiddle. Or I used to. Back in "the day", I could jump in to just about any Celtic session and be able to play along. I probably had hundreds of tunes in my head that I could play if and when asked. I had so much fun playing fiddle. And I could play Bach too. It's been years now since I've really played fiddle. I miss it. A lot.
I'm an artist. I love to create things. I like to draw with charcoal. I love to take photographs with an old school do-it-yourself camera. I like to sew - quilts and hats and bags and dresses. I can make things out of yarn. Beautiful warm soft things with wool and silk and cotton. And now, it's been too long since I've created anything. Yes, I write this blog. And that's creative. Sometimes. But it's not enough. I miss being creative.
I used to explore new places. Pick a trail or road I'd never been on and just go there for the fun of it. I don't do that anymore.
I used to attend concerts. All the time. Lots of different music. And I used to dance. I don't anymore. And I miss it.
I used to do TaeKwonDo. I wasn't especially good at it but I was progressing. It was deeply satisfying. And very hard. And I loved it! I miss it.
There are several reasons why I don't do so many of the things I used to do. I have headaches that limit me, yes. I am often depressed, yes. I am tired, worn down, etc, yes. And so many of the reasons boil down to being a mom.
Now, before you say, "duh, motherhood isn't a piece of cake, you maybe should have thought about this before you got knocked up," I know that. I don't think that anybody can be fully prepared for motherhood. Motherhood changes you. Yes, though, I think I knew that.
Please don't read what I'm about to say and hear that I'm blaming. I'm not. I'm simply stating how it is.
I'm a mother of a complicated kid. He's more complicated than most. I'm not complaining, honestly, I'm not. I love him more than the moon and all the stars. And I wouldn't trade him for the world. Still, being a parent of a "special" child takes more than I was prepared for.
I look back and try to find the point of Luken's life where things maybe started to diverge from so-called normal development. Was it early early, when he was a newborn and I was so sick? Was it when he wasn't crawling by a year old? Was it when he wasn't walking at 18 months? Was it when he started having "seizure like episodes" when he was one? I don't know. I can't pinpoint it. He always seemed "young" for his age. And big. And beautiful. And amazing.
Whenever it was, I guess it doesn't matter. Hind sight isn't always 20/20. He is autistic and I love him. My son is autistic. Sometimes that is still shocking to my mommy heart. But I know that my mommy heart has known that all along. And, if anything, it's made my love for him more fierce.
But, back to my question. How do you choose? How do you choose what to give up? How do you decide what is essential for your sanity? People tell me, "Oh, you can't give up music, you have to keep playing." Yes. With what time? And, where?
How do I choose? It is such a tricky thing to find the things that feed me - the things that I really must have (really what I mean here is "do" more than "have"). I don't know. I don't have the answer.
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