Emma Long Park and differing realities

So I made it through the first week of summer with the kids home from school. It was not the best week of our lives but we can check week one off… only eleven more to go. Life would be so much easier if I could have happy children. They go through phases. Last summer was very hard on Anna; she was emotionally, behaviorally, and medically unstable so her moods and actions were unpredictable. This summer, she is much happier in general. I’m certain that the thyroid medication is not working well yet though, she is still lethargic and sleeping a lot. She’ll need to get her levels checked in the next couple of weeks and I’m pretty sure the endocrinologist is going to have us increase the amount of the Levothyroxine. But it is so nice to have her relatively stable. But my little Pickle… he is a different story. First grade sucked. He and his teacher did not get along and I swear she looked for things to criticize him about. As a result, he ended up hating school and felt like he had no friends. I thought once school was out, his unhappiness might dissipate but so far that hasn’t happened. He’s just generally grumpy and sad. It’s wearing and worrisome.

Anna got funding through the CLASS waiver program this year so we have hours for respite this summer. I’ve been interviewing potential caregivers all week and I’m hoping to hire someone soon. This person will come a few days a week for a few hours at a time and play with Anna… basketball and baby dolls. I’ll be able to get a little break, do some work, chores, errands, and spend some time with Jenny and Dominic too. The process is more complicated since we are going through a provider and I have a lot of paperwork and phone calls to make in order to finalize hiring someone. Managing this, plus the regular household duties and caring for the children without a real summer schedule in place has made me feel overwhelmed this week. I haven’t been at my best. You know how when you are insulated in your own little world, that your own concerns fill up your worry space? And when you bump into others out in the real world, it can be hard to relate to their concerns in their worry space? That’s happened to me this week. Our reality is so vastly different than the majority of other parents that I just can’t relate sometimes. I’ll interact with someone or be online, reading Facebook or a message forum, and I’ll feel this huge distance. I try to connect and understand but haven’t done a good job this week.

Thursday was a particularly bad day. Curtis was out of town, I had finished up the third interview, I was dealing with house problems (we have a squirrel infestation in our attic… what the heck? seriously?… and it’s going to be a PITA and $$$ to fix it), Dominic was beyond unhappy being downright ugly to everyone, I had an awkward conversation with a neighbor, and Jenny was getting ready to leave for a week and wanted quality family time with us, so I loaded up the kids in the van and Googled Austin parks and we set off for a new adventure. We found ourselves on the banks of the Colorado River at Emma Long Metropolitan Park off of 2222, just west of 360. It was about a 15-mile drive up and down a mountain with twisty roads and only cost $5 to enter the park. We were quite surprised to find a beachy area and low banks from which to wade in the water. We didn’t wear bathing suits so we just kicked off shoes and got a little wet…. well… everyone but Anna. She went all in! It was just the break from reality we needed and we found a beautiful new spot to visit.

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