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I Just Don't Know How You Do It

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that… well, I’d have a lot of dollars.

People say it a lot, in every context.

Advocating for a therapy or service: “I don’t know how you do it.”

Going to yet another doctor appointment: “I don’t know how you do it.”

A new diagnosis to track down, another therapy needed, it doesn’t matter the context, the words are the same.

“I don’t know how you do it.”

It doesn’t matter who is saying it, it always comes out the same, with a mixture of awe and puzzlement.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know how I do it either.

It’s hard to rally time and time again. I look at other families and wonder why we didn’t get that package. It’s not that I think other families necessarily have it easier, just that normal looks pretty fetching from here, or at least as normal as having two kids with Down syndrome could be.

But we didn’t get normal. We got the “hold onto your britches, you’re in for a ride” package.

There’s no sense waxing poetic about normal, it’s not going to be us.

So how do I do it?

Well, mostly I just do it. There is no secret. So when that puzzled look crosses someone’s face, and they utter those words, my response is generally lacking, and legitimately so. I wish I could jot down a formula. I wish there was a recipe. I wish they taught this in school, because man, I could really use a tutorial.

The magic is simply not there.

I get up in the morning and little arms wrap around my waist, and we start the day. My little mister didn’t choose to come with the extra super deluxe complex special needs package, but that’s what he got. So when those little arms wrap trustingly around me, I rise to the occasion.

Please don’t assume it’s perfect or pretty. It’s most certainly not. I put a serious dent in some coffee chocolate chip gelato today and did a bit of damage to the punching bag while I was at it. My house gets messy and sometimes I spend whole days accomplishing only the bare minimum. But when it comes down to it, I have a pair of Teflon-coated, steel-belted big girl panties for the days that I need them. They aren’t pretty, but they work.

And when those little feet pad over to me and his eyes look up at me, it’s the fuel I need to push through and keep trying. It’s a big, crazy marathon, and none of us signed up for it. But doggone it, we’re putting our best feet forward. It’s the only thing we know how to do.

More from Alethea at Ben’s Writing, Running Mom.