Everyone says that having challenges makes you strong in the end. I can’t figure out if facing my challenges lately is making me strong…. or fragile. It kind of feels like fragile except that I haven’t broken yet. I took all of my mons-ners to M’s parent teacher conference and had them sit in the hallway playing games on their tablets while I was in the meeting. It was a stressful meeting. I have been nervous about it for 2 weeks. I couldn’t find anyone appropriately knowledgeable on special needs children to go with me (ie. friends with spec. ed children, support group peers, spouse) without totally disrupting their very busy schedules. Also – I was a little more than embarrassed that I felt I couldn’t do “my job” that day. So, I thought of this line from a movie I once saw about getting through something tough, “you can either white-knuckle your way through it or you can ask for help”. In this case, I was going to just white-knuckle my way through it. Originally I did have childcare help set up for this meeting. Twice actually, but it fell through. Sometimes you ask for help and it just doesn’t work out for whatever reason. Well, that was this time. I was high-strung, very nervous. My phone was ringing while I was waiting to go in and for quite a while and I didn’t register that it was my phone that was making that sound! I did the meeting. It lasted an hour and half all together. (4 teachers/therapists total) We all came to the conclusion that M has a lot of trouble with focus. Duh. Autism. Its either too much focus or too little. Hard to get just the right amount. I mentioned to his team that we’re looking into medication for M and he started social communication therapy this week. By the time the meeting was winding down, Miss S was beside herself with exhaustion and was having a meltdown. She had emptied two of the classroom prize jars and had taken over several classroom toys. I spent equal parts of time trying to pay attention to the important information being given to me and craning my neck to see what Miss S was into now. It was time to go. Bedtime was an hour and a half late. Needless to say the kitchen did not get cleaned and the dishes did not get done. The next morning I did get everyone out the door on time, but I was still very shaken. Had I said the wrong things at the meeting? Did they think I was a mental case? Had I advocated enough for M? Did I seem confident or like I didn’t care enough? After dropping the boys off at school, I went to Target, stopped at the Starbucks there and got a coffee (I was out at home) and proceeded with some minor retail therapy. I wandered around the aisles for about an hour and then headed home. Nevermind that I was in my jammies. Nevermind that I was in my slippers. Nevermind that I ran into someone I knew at the check-out (of course). My mind relaxed and then eventually I relaxed. Normally, I’m not a proponent of retail therapy, but I tell you, sometimes it works. Especially if you’re in a place where you’re familiar with the layout and the merchandise and you can just browse and let your mind wander. I breezed through all the laundry scents and smelled the candles. I glossed over my favorite magazines and looked for new books. I did steer clear of the new holiday section going in. (Again?! Already?!!) My point is it helped. I felt better that same afternoon. Overall, it took me about 2 days, but after a while, I felt even more like myself. I could move my neck again and I stopped being so tired and nauseas. Stress can really take a toll on your body! That’s something that I remember, but also forget so easily until its happening to me. Stress is not our friend folks! I think next time I’m going to schedule school meetings with a massage afterwards!