Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If I Could Go Back 20 Years....

If I could say anything to my younger self about what life would be like when Beth was an adult, it would be to slow down. Learn that habit now, while she's young.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week my biggest issue is the speed at which Beth lives. No one ever talked to me about this. Although I didn't know anyone who had an adult child with Down Syndrome, it would have been nice to know.

She walks slower than I do.

She speaks slower.

She brushes her teeth at a slower pace.

She takes longer to respond during a conversation.

She moves slower when playing cards.

She gets dressed slowly.

In Beth's life, the word 'hurry' doesn't exist. At least it doesn't seem to. If I could say anything to my younger self it would be, "Slow down. Slow down e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. If you want to be a part of Beth's world, if you want to relate to her on her level, slow it down."

This morning I was trying to clasp a bracelet I wanted to wear to work. Chuck was gone, Diana was still asleep and Beth was up and getting ready for bowling. I know her fine motor skills aren't the best but I figured she could do it if I was patient and showed her how to do it first. When I went down stairs she was sitting on her bed getting ready to clean her glasses. I asked her if she'd help me with my bracelet. (I knew she couldn't see the tiny clasp without her glasses. I figured she'd wipe them quickly and stand up to help me.) She started cleaning one side of one lens.

And I waited.

Then she started cleaning the other side of that lens.

I looked at the clock.

And I waited.

She started cleaning one side of the other....

And I gave up. walked out of the room, no, more like stormed out of the room. Told her I was sorry, I didn't have time to wait and I grabbed my purse and ran out the door. Driving to work I fought back tears and told myself it wasn't her fault. She didn't do anything 'wrong'. If anyone was in the wrong, it was me. I just stormed out and didn't explain why. I have such a hard time slowing down my entire world to be a part of hers. But I desperately want to be a part of her life!

I guess, if I'm honest what I really want is for her to adjust to fit better in mine. Speed up just a little. Go a little faster! Is that too much to ask?

Most of the time when Beth and I hang out, I go at her pace and we have a blast. It's just that my world doesn't go at that pace. I have to live in both worlds. Try to blend them and find a happy medium. Some days it's so easy - and fun! - to hang out in her world. To slow down and just relax.

Yea, if I could say one thing to my younger, hipper, cooler self, it would be to slow down now. Learn to get up earlier, leave the house with more time to spare, walk a little slower. It'll mean so much when Beth grows up. And that'll happen before you know it.


My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. Oh how I understand. Ditto our life too.

Wren said...

I always appreciate your advice and knowledge! At this point Sutter is running circles around me, but I know the day will come when I will have to learn to slow down to his pace!

JC said...

Another great post! I love that you share little glimpses into your lives with us, it is very helpful :)

Nan said...

Ditto ditto ditto! When Jess was a wee one and taking swimming lessons, I found myself always redirecting her and hurrying her up to get out of the pool, shower, get dressed, not hide in each and every locker on the way out ... Then one day I decided that it would be good to go at her pace, not matter how long it took. I would never really know how long that was unless we tried. So. We went at her pace. It took us 4 HOURS (yes, 4 hours) to get out of the locker room. That didn't include any of the swimming part, just the locker room part. Luckily her lesson was in the middle of the day.

The beauty tho, that I am trying to grasp, is that Beth is so FULLY PRESENT to what she is doing, to the moment. Kind of that Buddhist aspiration that we all have a hard time with. Mindfullness.
Thanks so much for all your honesty and openess! You are inspiring me to get back at blogging on a regular basis!!!!

Laurie said...

yes, I would slow down, i.e. enjoy the moment ..... however, Nevin was a runner...... so slow, was not in his vocabulary.... :)

p.s. finally got the followers section added to my blog.... but now it's official, I only have 5 followers!! kind of embarrassing!! :)

Kristin said...

Great advice - I need to take it.