Runaway

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Here is monday’s post a day early.  You’ll see why immediately.

I am going to be painfully honest here. I have spent years fantasizing about running away from my life and my family. Which is crazy, because I love these people like no one’s business. But there are moments this crazy life totally overtakes my sanity and I want to run away from everything. Really. Like forge a new identity and hide out in the Alaskan wilderness. For years I have had these elaborate fantasies about running away. Some include Colin Firth, but we won’t talk about that.

During the early years of Matthew’s life going for a walk was difficult, so running away, or taking some kind of time-out respite was out of the question. I was the go-to person for virtually all of his care and he was pretty unstable during those early years. I also had two other young children. There are years where my memory is a total blur since every day was about survival and nothing more. Thank goodness for pictures. There isn’t enough incentive in the world to compel me to relive those days.

Now that we have more staff to help with Matthew’s care, and my other two kids are older, I have some breathing room. It is pretty awesome.  And I love Matthew’s caregiving staff. But I am an introvert. That means that I crave silence and solitude as a way to re-charge my batteries. Staff, while wonderful, require that I am always talking to people and always sharing my space with people. I have this feeling that I need to always be “on” even in the middle of the night.  And to be realistic, I am “on” even in the middle of the night.  It is not uncommon for night staff to wake me up to review some aspect of Matthew’s care. Essentially my home resembles a cross between a small hospital and a busy group home.  Not the best combination for an introvert.

Last year my husband and I bought a cottage, in part to have a place that allows for physical distance from Matthew and Matthew’s caregiving team. I have learned that the only way I can give myself permission to be “off” is to have distance between Matthew and me. As long as I am in the vicinity of Matthew I will feel responsible, particularly if he isn’t well. Like many protective mothers of a complicated kid I have a hard time letting go. Leaving him, physically and geographically leaving him, for short periods of time is often the only way I can get the emotional space to recharge.

Despite the fact that Matthew has recently had two admissions to the ER/ICU I am planning to runaway to my cottage for 24 hours.  I actually have to meet with a contractor monday morning so there is a reason.  Am I going to feel guilty and anxious about being away? You bet. But, I have learned the hard way that if I don’t take a moment to catch my breath, particularly after stressful times like the last month, I will crash. Hard. Been there. Done that. Have many t-shirts.

There is always the potential that things will go wrong while I am away.  It has happened before.  We have come screaming home from visiting family in the US because things went wrong. But, even though I won’t have running water at the cottage for another month, and my heat source is a woodstove, there is always a functional landline.  Always.  I am available by phone and I can be home in three hours. That will have to be enough. I need to runaway periodically to be able to keep living this life. If I take a 24 hour time-out I have learned that I can keep the more elaborate fantasies about leaving my life altogether at bay. That and I hopefully won’t crash.

Colin Firth will likely not feature prominently during this episode of my runaway respite since I plan to binge watch Outlander. As any follower knows, that series is essentially porn for the straight, middle-aged woman.

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