It’s Okay to Take a Break

Tears were welling in my eyes at a meeting I attended this morning as the speaker, standing just a few feet in front of me, was talking about how it’s okay to give yourself a break. She was looking right at me and I had to tap down the urge to weep openly. She said, “It’s okay to say, you know, I’m just not going to deal with this right now.” And, she continued, “it’s okay to not feel guilty for taking a break.” This isn’t about taking a break from running, although, there are some parallels. It’s okay if you don’t run for a few weeks or workout, and when that happens-don’t beat yourself up about it.

Transition to Adult
My oldest son is turning 18 in another month and a half. He will be an adult. Ordinarily that isn’t such a big deal, but it is for us. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s falls on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) scale. My son’s disabilities are somewhat ‘mild’–that means he is high functioning. Until he turns 18, I am his guardian, and I am in charge of what happens in his life. Soon, I will loose that authority and that is super scary! He doesn’t have a job–yet. I’m trying to get him to get his driver’s license, but he has zero interest in driving. I even have a car for him! He asked me the other day if I would buy him something he needed. I said, “Dude! If you had your license you could just go get it yourself! You don’t need me to take you! You are almost an adult!”

Having a break from running has made me re-focus on my son and his needs. This Transition to Adult meeting happened at just the right time. If I were running, I wouldn’t have attended it as it would have clashed with my morning run time. (Everything happens for a reason.) I think I was on an extended break because everything with him was flowing rather nicely. As a parent it is hard to not feel guilty for taking a break. I constantly don’t think I do enough for him. Over the last 15 years, our family has endured all sorts of therapies, testing, programs, medication, behaviorists, tutors, resource specialists, homeopathic methods, etc. IT IS EXHAUSTING! I have certainly put in my time (which is why I sometimes want to break down and cry), and of course will continue to support my son for as long as needed. Medication had a huge positive impact after two years of absolute torture at the beginning of high school in getting his work completed. He was failing classes. Now he’s not thanks to the meds, something we resisted for years. This had given us a bit of a reprieve. The homework battles had subsided. I have stepped way back (taken a long break) to allow him to be a teenager and hopefully succeed the last two years of High School on his own. So far so good. We are still on track for graduation, although any thoughts of heading off to a four year university were dashed during those first two disastrous years of high school. The junior college will be seeing him for a spell, and frankly, he isn’t ready to be out on his own. There he will find some resources for getting placed in an appropriate job. Social situation are scary for him, so this will be a challenge.

It’s time to get back into the full swing of preparing my son for an “interdependent” (as they called it) life. My greatest hope is that he will be able to function as a successful independent adult. My greatest fear is that he just won’t be able to handle it all on his own -becoming interdependent- on me. It’s time for me to start pushing my baby bird off the ledge. He needs to learn how to fly, by himself, become independent if possible. These last couple of years I have been too easy going with him. The fight to make him do something has worn me down after so many bouts. But now I need to get back in the ring, just like I will get back to running shortly-full throttle. (As a side note: my calf is feeling much better today and I hope to be running again in another week!) The speaker also discussed the importance of taking care of ourselves. Because if we don’t do that, we are not good for anyone else! That is my new year’s resolution: Take care of me. The rest will then fall into place.

That is why I run!

Luckily, there are a number of resources available to young adults like my son. Today I found out what some of them are and will start to implement them pronto. I am so glad I went to this meeting!

Lastly, at the close of the meeting there is always that uncomfortable moment where they ask you to make a donation. In years past, I would have just ignored it. Instead, I reminded myself of the promise I made the other day on here, to help others/donate when I can, pulled out my checkbook and donated to the non-profit organization Matrix, which helps numerous families faced with all different types of special needs. We are lucky to have these free resources so close to home.

Making that donation made me smile today, and thus, a great day ensued despite the raining overcast weather.

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