Today, I just can't. I don't have any of the anything I need to do this job well. Forces collided - some I maybe could have done something about and some I couldn't possibly control - and now I'm flat and empty. The very thought of making the necessities happen this afternoon makes me want to crawl in a hole.
The thing is, life keeps happening. Collin still needs me. So how am I supposed to give him what he needs when I don't have any of it to give?
I charge up between uses. It doesn't matter how bad you need your phone - if the battery is dead, it's dead. Wanting and even needing won't charge it back up. The only thing that works is plugging it in.
So how does a caregiver plug in when her battery is dead but the needs keep coming?
Step 1: Axe everything that isn't absolutely necessary.
Step 2: Charge
Step 3: Use
Repeat steps 2 and 3 until reinforcements or bedtime arrive, giving you a shot at a more prolonged charging session.
For me, it might look something like this:
Read a few pages of a book (charge). Do Collin's water bolus and set him up with an audiobook (use). Make myself a chai and stare out the window at my neighbor's holly tree (charge). Take Collin to the bathroom and prepare his next ketogenic blended meal; feed him while he watches a video and skip oral eating practice (use). Do some knitting during his meal (charge). Another trip to the bathroom and set Collin up in the wheelchair with an iPad app (use). Do some journaling or other writing (charge).
So yes, this does mean that Collin isn't getting therapy or participating in crafts or experiments or music time during my charging sessions. (See Step 1.) But he is safe. He is loved. And he's not even bored out of his skull most of the time. Sometimes I think he actually likes these days when I'm not up in his business all of the time. But even if he doesn't enjoy this particular day, the more important thing is that, at the end of it, there will still be some Mama left.