Sometimes I get so caught up with J that I forget to have a life of my own. I keep tabs on friends through Facebook and try to make time to see them but life can be a big hurdle to schedule around especially with a child on the spectrum who relies on a stiffly structured routine. When I actually make that time and get out I realize how important it is to do so. I got to see a good friend of mine today that I haven’t seen since her twin girls turned one in October. Only after our brief afternoon together had I realized just how much I missed her. How great it was to be us, outside, having lunch, no kids. Of course a lot of our conversation was about our kids but that’s because they are a big part of who we are now.
I forget how important taking time for myself is. I think most parents fall into this bad habit but with a child on the spectrum there aren’t too many people you feel comfortable asking to watch your child so you can have some “me time”. So I planned to go visit my friend while the boy was in school. I think for any mom but mostly a mom raising a special needs child, every moment of down time is precious so the thought of planning my week around an outing for myself was tiring, thoughts can be very restricting. I really wanted to visit my friend, so I got all my weekly errands done early on and I asked my mom to be on call in case I got caught in traffic on my way back.
Our time together was brief, we had enough time for a little morning stroll with her girls and lunch, but it was better than not seeing her at all. For in that short time we were able to reconnect, talk comfortably to someone outside of our daily lives and gain perspective. As my familial responsibilities have increased friendships outside of family and a five-mile radius seemed impossible and yes a friendship like we had prior to kids maybe because of time constraints but friendship can evolve. Rather than challenge each others limitations as we once did out of youthful competitiveness, we respected each others responsibilities and supported them.
It was nice to take a break from Autism and be Jessica again I was still J’s mom, and Big J’s wife but these titles didn’t define me to my friend to her I am just Jess. I made it back before the bus came and didn’t even upset the balance of my son’s daily routine but one thing was different, his mom. I was re energized and grateful to be with him. My outing reminded me of how beneficial social interactions can be not just for myself but for J.