The End of Myself

Summer is supposed to be a restful time for the homeschooling mom. Perhaps a vacation, time to get materials for the next school year organized. A time for getting the house cleaned and ready once again. A time for fun and games. Family time. Rest.

Such has NOT been my summer.

I am utterly exhausted. My house did not get the deep cleaning that I wanted it to get. We NEVER go anywhere. Car trouble necessitated that we spend any and all extra money on repairs and I even cancelled a planned trip to a monastery that I was looking forward to.

What, you ask, HAVE I been doing all summer? Well...taking kids (mostly one kid) to various doctors. It's been several neurologist visits, it's been psychiatrist visits, it's been another EEG (and because those are "sleep deprived" I am worn out for DAYS from one of those), it's been therapist visits which are horridly wearying in their own way.

And the problem is, for some reason I get emotionally worn out from all of this. Especially going to a new doctor. So when we had our first visit w/ B's new neurologist, I had my own anxiety issues to deal with over it. All was fine, everyone was wonderful and I'm quite adept at getting downtown and finding parking in "hospital row" (Louisville has at least 4 different hospitals all clumped together downtown: U of L hospital, Norton, Jewish and Cosair Children's Hospital...that I know of, not to mention entire buildings full of doctors) now that the newness of it all has worn off, but the learning curve is NOT something I enjoy.

And the kids are bored out of their wits. It's been a summer full of playing on the computer, reading books, and the occasional board (bored) game. And sometimes trips to the pool. The pool is almost right outside our back door here in the apartment complex. Just far enough way so that it's not directly behind us. So that is one nice thing. But for the younger two at least, I have to accompany them-so it's one more thing for me to squeeze in to my harried schedule.

So, yesterday was particularly bad, schedule-wise. I offer it to you as a sample day of my summer: Got up, did morning stuff which included cleaning up the kitchen-blech, then I got on-line and placed my order at for household stuff. Then I got dressed and dashed out the door to go to Costco and Walmart. M came with me. We listened to a John Michael Talbot CD in the car. That was nice. So, shopping. Then I looked at the time, and realized that I had barely enough time to drive home, unload the food, let M put it all away (it's nice to have teenagers!) while I dashed out again w/ B for a doctor's appointment. So that is what we did.

I literally ate nothing but chocolate for my "lunch". So not nourishing and not the type of physical energy I needed. We dashed downtown and made it barely in time. Had doc appointment, then headed over to drop something off at the neurologist, a block away. That chore done, we headed home again.

Of course this leaves me tired. I'm ready to rest and get something more nutritious (which I do), when someone informs me that I'd promised a library trip. So I did. So we went/dragged to the library. The younger kids wanted to swim, so I said library then swimming. But by the time we got home it was raining and the pool was closed. Thank God for small rainy mercies.

So by now it's almost time for making dinner. I am exhausted, and still have vespers and choir practice. I'm really too tired to go, but I really need to, and it would be time for myself, yadayada. I don't regret going to vespers and choir, but it WAS very long...almost 3 hours all together. But the music we sang! was worth it.

So, all this to say that the house is a chaotic mess, we still don't know for sure what all is wrong with B and why she has these strange involuntary movements (movement disorder specialist is scratching her head and doing some more research before she gets back w/ us) I'm still trying to find time to grade last year's school work and get things in order, I have TWO kids with birthdays next week and so on and so forth.

In a nutshell: I am at the end of myself. I'm done. I'm out of energy. I've reached my limit. I might as well die on this cross so that I can be resurrected with Christ. Metaphorically speaking, or spiritually speaking, or something.

And so some semblance of myself carries on. It will be interesting to see how this next school year unfolds. I'll probably start week after next, or the week after that. Lord have mercy, I need grace.

And the solution is NOT to enroll them in public school. That would cause more problems than it would solve. Really it would, so please don't leave any comments to that effect.


elizabeth said…
Oh Alana!!

first, "And the problem is, for some reason I get emotionally worn out from all of this"

if you were not feeling this emotionally I would wonder what was wrong! OF COURSE this is exhausting! Yikes. New doctors etc etc is really tiring...

I am really sorry that you were not able to go to the monastery; I will pray that you will be given another opportunity.

Alana, I too struggle TONS with food energy things... If I am not eating well, well then I don't do well.

Keep fighting! Try again to have a better lunch; protien; something! The better we can eat energy-giving foods, the better it will be.

You and I both know that this helps us, it is just hard to keep on track with it.

I wish there was more I could say or do for you, but I will continue praying.
Oh my... my heart goes out to you. You DID have a really rough day... and if that is how most of them are... something really does need to change! And we both know what the change is that you need... to find out that your child is fine or going to be fine! You can handled everything else (the children will be grown and on their own far too soon and I can tell that you enjoy being with them and the house...who cares about the dust?!) but those doctor appointments and the worry (even as you hand it over to God) are exhausting. Hang in there, try to get the rest and nutrition your body needs and that will help too.
And keep on praying! (I will pray for you too)
Alana said…
Thanks for the kind words and prayer, y'all. The problem is, and a BIG part of our grief, is that she's NOT fine and won't be, barring a miracle from God. Which of course could happen, but has not thus far.

The past three years, and more, have been a roller coaster of living with mental illness, dealing with meds adjustments and so on. The movement disorder is on top of all that.

We (her parents) have this grief. She has this grief, too. The future is in God's hands, though.
mamajuliana said…
I will keep you are your family in my prayers. Do internet hugs help? is one.
elizabeth said…
yes, it is a huge grief... praying for you. Do try to eat well Alana, you need your strength. love and hugs from me too!
Laura said…
You are in my prayers.
Anonymous said…
Just want to throw this out there. I have chronic lyme disease and in my research, I have come across movement disorders and various psychiatric diagnoses for children with lyme that has gone undetected. Has this ever been considered for your B?
Anonymous said…
You will find a way to truly live in the truths you know, that our future hope is already now, and your grief will fade. It is an attachment. The days can hold their trials, and as long as we are body with soul they will come, but grief need not attend. It is an attachment.

Know joy. Do not overshelter your daughter. Do you know how closely God holds her in His hand? Take leaps of faith. If trust and hope rest on doctors and medicine to too great an extent, this inhibits the actions of the Spirit in all of you.

All will be well. I believe you know this. I pray you know it. Do not be afraid to scale back your life, in order to spare yourself, so dramatically that you feel you must be the world's biggest loser mom and family there ever was. When you rest, then God can restore you and show you the difference between what was self and what is His will.

Sister, I pray for you and keep you in my thoughts.
thegeekywife said…
Lord have mercy!

I will increase my prayers for your family, and I'll ask St Panteleimon, St Luke the Apostle, St Luke the Physician, and St Blaise to intercede also.

Also, if you would permit, Bethany's name could be added to the prayer list at one of my local churches, either during liturgy or the list on the email bulletins.

Alana said…
Sure Geeky, that's fine.
deb said…
I'm with everyone else offering heartfelt concern and all the encouragement we can manage in this somewhat impersonal electronic medium--you are a great mom, shouldering some extraordinary burdens.

My only little peep of a contribution is to say, don't be afraid of maybe looking a little into a more unschooling approach to your homeschooling. It may not be your cup of tea, and I understand if you aren't interested. But it's worked well for many families (including mine--and yes, we're Orthodox, too), and I think quite a few of them are families dealing with chronic illnesses. You could find homeschoolers in your area who lean to (or immerse themselves in) unschooling and talk to them for ideas and encouragement. There's a lot to read about it, in books and online. And it's not all or nothing; maybe you could find more ways to relax just some of your routines.

Unschooling does not mean chaos or laziness or "anything goes." But it could mean, for you, less pressure from school-style expectations (busy work, grading, etc.). And kids can flourish with unschooling.

Again, I know this may not be of interest, and that's fine. But just in case a little encouragement to consider it, another voice telling you it'll be okay, is of any help, that's all I mean to do here. And I'll never mention it again if you don't like it.

You have my prayers. May the Lord have mercy on Bethany for healing in soul and body.
Alana said…
Unschooling....I like, I like. Nice idea. Will ponder....

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