A few years ago, when I was a newbie in this lifestyle of being a disability Mom, I met a woman at a local pool. I actually stalked her, to tell the truth, after seeing her beautiful little girl walk around the pool deck. I spotted a CP kid and wanted to find the source. Ever on the hunt to find another Mom who I could suck dry for knowledge of how the heck to manage this.
I found the Mom and we chatted. Me always trying to remain cool, like I had all the experience in the world, and I wasn’t treading water right in front of her eyes. She was telling me about her daughter and what she was doing, and about her therapies. I asked which therapies she was doing now, and where. We had recently made the jump from Early Intervention to real life, and I was trying to manage my self made schedule of gymnastics therapy, swim therapy, center based therapy and hippo therapy. All while dragging three kids along to everything, and trying to keep Shea on track and motivated.
She told me that her daughter was currently “taking a break from therapy,” and I literally almost fell off my deck chair. How do you take a break from therapy???? I would never do that, I thought. I have heart palpitations when I miss one therapy for my daughter. I never miss therapy. I would feel way to guilty to have her miss a therapy. Wasn’t this what we did? IN the ever growing quest to fix our kids or at least do everything we could to help them. Taking a break was not int he rule book.
Fast forward to being the mother of an 8 year old, who still has CP, who still needs therapy, and who is just getting plain tired. Both of us are. All of us are. After the upheaval of having Shea’s therapists quit the center we had scheduled, and trying to find new therapists/therapies to cover the loss of time, I finally threw in the towel.
We are taking the summer off of therapy. Well, sordof. As much as I can do without dying of guilt completely. Shea is only doing one pool therapy and riding once a week. Oh, and one OT at home to work on life skills. So that’s a big change. A big giant change in our life and schedule, and has taken a lot of the running and driving and schlepping out of the equation.
But as Faith and I discussed this over lunch, we agreed it was a very hard thing to do. You could make the decision yourself, based on what was best for your family, but you also needed a trusted therapist or doctor to say “it’s OK. It won’t be the end of the world. Take a break.” You need to have that voice of reason, that voice of experience to see the big picture. You need their permission almost, to give yourself permission.So we take a break!