“Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better. Understand?”
I got to thinking about this quote today. It started with something so simple. Christopher got involved in an after school club this year called S.O.P.E. (Save Our Planet Earth). They meet one Thursday a month from 3 to 4 PM. Today’s meeting happened to coincide with the afternoon that Michael was to meet his new ABA therapist. I had promised to be home at 4:30 to meet them, and I had an afternoon parent-teacher conference at 3:00 to boot. I had mentioned to Christopher that, unfortunately, he could only stay at his meeting until 3:30. When my conference was over, I went down to the science lab to pick him up and then to head to Michael’s after-school program. He was so interested in the interactive movie they were watching and sharing popcorn with his friends that I felt bad making him leave. I decided that even though it was going to be inconvenient (and I’d been wearing high heeled boots since 7 AM that I was ready to take off already) I’d go pick up Michael, and then come back as quickly as possible to get Christopher. As I walked out to my car to drive to Michael’s school, I truly realized the magnitude (to me, anyway) of this decision. What message would Christopher get, no matter how subtle, if I made him leave his club early? “Sorry, honey, but Michael and his therapy come first.” Do I EVER want that thought to even approach the transom of his mind? Never. Christopher is an amazing kid. The things that he does for his brother are mind-blowing. But I also have to constantly remember that he is a child and he deserves to have the same normal and happy experiences as anyone else. When he looks back on his childhood many years from now, I want him to have the same feelings that I have – joy. I never want him to feel that he ever had to miss out on anything – not even a club meeting – because of his brother.
At this moment, my classroom is probably a fire hazard with all the piles of paper that haven’t been graded. At another time in my life, I’d be tearing my hair out worrying about it. Don’t get me wrong, I really do love teaching and I work hard from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM (and plenty of hours beyond that). I care deeply about the progress my students are making and I try to do all I can to ensure their success. I’ve come to a realization, though. Right now, my top priority is my family. These are precious years that I realize are slipping by so quickly. Christopher asked if he could have some coffee one morning before school (we let him have tiny bit on the weekends – it’s more like cream & sugar with a drop of coffee). I told him that no, coffee is for adults. His response was “Well, can I have HALF a cup since I’m halfway to being an adult?” Wow – now that was a shock to the system!
I have a therapist that I myself see a few times a month. I’m not ashamed to say that. It’s not the first time in my life that I’ve talked to someone about things in my life that are overwhelming. BUT, it is the first time in my adult life that someone has truly helped me to put those things into a format that I can handle emotionally. As a person who holds a college minor in dance, I know how important balance is. I’m glad to have it back in my life and I hope and pray it’s here to stay.