Ahhh!! How sweet it was to take a break from the caretaking of our Precious Marvel today! Brian attended the Princeton Disability Awareness Carnival, hosted by a group of big-hearted Princeton University students. Each child who attended was paired with a buddy for 5 hours, giving parents a wonderful respite!
Jim and I were able to savor our breakfast in the sun, and indulge in adult conversation on this glorious morning at a delectable local eatery in walking distance from the university. Afterwards, we explored the university by foot, taking in the spectacular architecture, beautiful landscaping, and rich history of this ivy league institution.
It’s a rare treat for us to have “alone” time, as it is for most parents of children with special needs, so when the opportunity comes up, we try to take advantage of it.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the constant demands of our children’s needs, that we often forget to take care of ourselves and our relationships with our partners. In the long run, everyone will suffer when that happens, including our kids. Jim and I try to be cognizant and “feed” ourselves and our relationship on a regular basis with rest, time alone, time together, and more rest! Brian’s needs are so many and constant, that by the end of each day, we are pooped and need to recharge our batteries. We also need to nurture our spirits with those things that give us joy and engage in other activities that are not all “special ed” related. I find this is very important for my mental health.
Today’s respite was a reminder that self-care is not a luxury, but ESSENTIAL for the long haul on the special needs journey. I will be of no use to Jim, Brian, or anyone else if I don’t take care of myself. I have to remind myself of this important fact when I don’t rest enough, take on too much, and live an unbalanced life. All of this can happen (and has happened) too easily if I don’t pay close enough attention.
Volunteers, like today’s students from Princeton University, are the main reason why respite truly rocks!! Their kindness and generosity of spirit shown towards Brian is always so heartwarming, giving us peace of mind so that we were able to forget about our responsibilities for a few hours. More on this very special group next time…. 🙂