Every few months, I need a break from the advocating, lobbying, educating, motivating and inspiring. A wise woman once said to me: you know, sometimes you can fold up your Supermom cape and put it away.
This is brilliant advice for two reasons.
One, all ‘special needs parents’ need to rest from the heavy work of changing the world.
And two, let me not view myself in such high regard that I think I’m the only one who is capable of changing the world. Many many others are chipping away at this important work – this is not my sole responsibility. It is humbling to regularly remember that it isn’t all about me.
The break from being a ‘special needs mom’ is not a break from my ‘child with special needs.’ It is a break from society, systems and the small minded.
So I fold up my cape, and pack up my kids and board a flight to the west coast.
We disembark in the land of the lapping ocean and shadowy mountains. Our generous extended family fetes and feeds us. We eat fish and chips at the wharf and meander around the bobbing boats at the marina. Aaron chooses what yacht he’s going to buy for his girlfriend. We amble through a hidden community garden on the abandoned train tracks. We carefully examine every single exhibit at Science World and admire the views from the top of a mountain. We gobble up corned beef hash at a breakfast joint with my daughter and her boyfriend.
We walk laps around the ferry, challenge each other to racing games at the video arcade and hold our hats on the windy deck.
My mom and dad take us to secret island places. We visit the barking sea lions and chat with the goats at Coombs. We shriek when we touch the sea cucumbers at the marine field station. We turn over rocks to find scattering crabs. We use binoculars to spot thousands of gulls feasting on herring eggs with Pappa Neil at the estuary.
We read chapter books at bedtime, and lounge in bed for a long time before we get up. We eat pho and Nanaimo bars and lay on the floor while our one year old cousin and niece scampers over us.
All this is done on Aaron slow time, with no heed to clocks or schedules or meetings or the damn Internet.
Let’s give each other permission to fold up that Supermom cape and hide it in the back of the closet. Sometimes we need to relax into these small moments with our kids, and leave the changing the world business to someone else.