By Tracey Trousdell
Some days, I wish I felt more grey.
I know, “grey” doesn’t sound like the greatest feeling to wish for. It conjures up images of sadness or moodiness or indifference.
But that is not what I mean by grey. For me, grey means middle ground. Even keel. Neutral. As opposed to the black or white extremes I often feel.
At one end of the extremes, there’s guilt. I am laden with the feelings that I don’t do enough for Asher. Nothing is ever enough. I don’t do enough exercises with him, I don’t stretch him enough, I don’t make him walk often enough, I don’t try to get him to crawl enough, I don’t help him enough, I don’t challenge him enough. And on and on and on. Long story short: “I don’t _____ enough.” Fill in the blank with any of the things we are supposed to do with him. Talk about overwhelming and disheartening when you think about all of the ways you could be doing better and more for your child with a disability (or any of your children for that matter).
Thinking I’d be inspired, I just finished reading a memoir written by a mom whose son has severe CP. At birth, she was told he would essentially never see, move, or know who she was, but she didn’t believe it. Through an unbelievable amount of work and persistence, she did therapy with him non-stop all day, every day, and he is now able to talk, eat, see, and walk with a walker. It is truly extraordinary. Now granted, he was her only child, and in the process her marriage did end, but you have to give her and her son a ton of credit for what they accomplished. After reading this, however, do you think I was inspired and given hope by the brain plasticity of a child and the sheer will of his mother? No, not really. Instead I just felt inferior. Like if I tried a little bit harder, Asher would be scaling Mt. Everest. OK, not quite, but you get what I mean.
Then, away from the guilt, there’s the other end of the spectrum: apathy. Sometimes, I just wonder what we’re doing it all for. I see our boys work their hardest in therapy, but I don’t see a ton of tangible differences. I look around our house at the mounds and mounds of equipment and wonder what good any of it is doing. Some days I wish I could take my family and run away to a tropical island and just live. No therapy, no equipment, no big bad world full of judgment and prejudice. Just us. Safe. At peace. Away from it all.
On the days I am able to remove myself from the black and white extremes, everything in the shades of grey becomes a little bit clearer. I know that I can’t do it all. I know that I have three children, all equally deserving of my attention. I know that I have a marriage that needs to be a priority. I know that I am only human. I know that my family is loved, and more importantly, they know they are loved. I know I am doing the best I can.
So on the days where I’m feeling black, or white, or sometimes a bit of both, I do what I’ve always done since having the boys—I just ride it out. I cry. I eat chocolate. I cry a bit more. I talk to my husband. I talk to girlfriends. I blog about it. And then I take a deep breath and know that this too shall pass, and the clarity that comes with feeling grey will be just around the next bend.
About the Author
Tracey Trousdell lives on the west coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and identical twin boys. The twins, born more than three months early, have Cerebral Palsy. A former Project Manager turned stay at home mom, Tracey uses her organizational and time management skills to enthusiastically boss her family around. Her blog, http://www.traceytrousdell.com, is a sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching, all-the-time authentic look at her family living life to the fullest through adversity.