Putting on the oxygen mask…

A dear friend of mine who has a child with special needs referred to me as a mighty warrior mom in a text she sent me. She sent this message to me in response to an update I sent her on Courtney. This message didn’t come long after I spoke with my bosses about taking some time off of work. In a moment of self pity I asked myself if I was worthy of being referred to as mighty warrior mom if I had to emotionally admit defeat and take time from work.

I didn’t let the self pity last long. I reminded myself of the oxygen mask analogy. When on a plane, if a flight attendant sees a parent with a child during their safety presentation, they will go up to the parent and remind them that in an emergency to put on their own oxygen mask first then the child’s oxygen mask. But how do you put that oxygen mask on you first when you have little children with so many needs?

I have spent the past two months watching my little girl who can not express how she feels suffer with reoccurring pain. It has been so heartbreaking to watch. I’ve been making phone call after phone call to doctors. I’ve written so many notes and emails to her teachers/therapists that they are probably considering hiring a secretary just to deal with me. During part of this, Alyssa was also having medical issues so add more doctor visits.

I have continued to go to work attempting to teach little kiddos with just as severe needs as Courtney. While working, fielding phone calls, taking any moment I could to make calls to drs when needed, emailing her team and constantly wondering how she was doing. I have felt my performance as a teacher slipping drastically and blamed it on motivation. In all actuality, it has nothing to do with that. Here I thought I was this super hero helping everyone else first but in the end I was not giving them my best because somewhere in these past two months my oxygen mask fell off and I didn’t take the time to put it back on. The analogy couldn’t be more true.

So next week I’m taking the time to put on the oxygen mask. I feel horrible stepping away from my students but in the end, it will benefit them. It will also benefit my family. I’m not staying home to just put my feet up. Unfortunately I think that’s impossible in this stage of life but now that work is off my plate for one week I can fully concentrate on my family and working on figuring out what is going on with Courtney. Thanks to my amazing team at school and a wonderful sub, my students will be in good hands. I can’t thank them all enough!

So let this be a lesson parents…have you taken time to remember to put your oxygen mask on?

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