by Amanda, Confessions From HouseholdSix
Something had to give. I wasn’t the only one running on fumes. Even though I’m the primary care giver for the boys, the one who coordinates all of the therapies and doctor appointments, I could see it was taking a toll on my husband too. I had to wonder if it wasn’t because he was actually home last summer. The first summer he’d been home in eight years. Yes, you read that right, eight years. You see, between deployment and ROTC duties, he had been gone those eight previous summers. The only reason he was home last summer is because it was thought he would be changing jobs and we could potentially be moving. We took our first family vacation – ever. It was respite we ALL needed.
By the end of the summer, I was losing my mind. I had found out that the Army affords us a respite care benefit. I about fainted. I needed it. WE needed it – on so many levels. So much of the last eighteen months at that point had been spent on autism, therapies, doctor appointments, and school. We’re still in that cycle, but everything is established, so we need a break. We are taking advantage of the respite care we are given.
My husband and I have been out together twice now. I’ve also had a day where I had a respite provider here to help me so I could get things done and just have an extra set of hands. It’s been just what the doctor ordered. My husband and I have been able to get out and reconnect as a couple. We’ve been able to talk about important issues without worrying about little ears hearing. We’ve been able to talk about our other interests as well. We’ve been able to go out and enjoy hot meals without worrying about cutting someone else’s food, breaking up fights, or playing tic tac toe. We’re rediscovering the area we live and new things to do both as a couple, and finding new things where we can later go back with the boys.
The boys have gotten respite in a way too. They’ve gotten a break from their mentally tired parents. They get someone who comes to the house ready to play and pretty much do their bidding for the duration of their stay (within reason). I’m OK with that. We’ve all been able to come back together as a family after our outings recharged and happier to see each other again. The boys are even asking when we’re leaving again.
Amanda currently resides in Central PA with her husband, her 10 year old son, and 5 year old son. Between the boys’ multiple health needs and the Army, the family speaks fluent acronyms. Amanda attempts to maintain what sanity she has left by writing at http://confessionsfromhh6.com and contributing to various other publications both on and offline.