I’m a list maker, a do-er, one person called me a “producer.” There is nothing quite so satisfying as crossing something off a list, and nothing quite as frustrating as moving something from list to list to list without crossing it off, despite the best laid plans.
This is a struggle I’ve had my whole life, but I’m convinced I was given a child with special needs (and constant demands) to “force quit” this neurotic, yet pleasing to society, way of being. When my son, Rojo, was first born he joined our family of three in a tiny one-bath, two-bedroom home. It would take me all week to clean the bathroom, because every time I went in to wipe the mirror or clean the toilet, his screaming interrupted me. That should have been my warning sign, but I ignored it. Instead I just kept fighting upstream to get that bathroom cleaned each week, before starting all over again.
Now, pushing fifteen years later, my before schools, my after schools, evenings, weekends, holidays and summers, are all one long exercise in futility, me with the To Do list, him with the opposing agenda, the one I fight against, the one I resent, the one that inevitably wins, every time.
And here’s the “funny,” part, when I am with my son, I am always looking for ways we can kill time together. What can we do to chew up some time? What is something that he is able and willing to do, that he also enjoys? I find myself at a lot of parks watching him play with kids one-third his age. I find myself at a lot of 7-11’s strolling through the identical aisles, marveling at the things he points out and wants me to marvel at: gum that changes flavors, glazed donuts, Slurpee machines. I find myself with a whole lot of opportunities to just “be,” if only I stop the struggle and let it in – the nothing, the everything.