Thursday, March 24, 2016

Traveling Dad

This was a travel week for me.  I spent a few days in Texas which is one of my more enjoyable destinations.  I like the warm weather and the people are generally friendly.  While I was there I got to visit Dealey Plaza and the place where President Kennedy was shot.  I enjoy historic places like this and its nice to take a little side trip from time to time.  Here is a snapshot of me in front of the Texas Book Depository.  The window from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot at the President is the half opened one just one story above my head.

Traveling now has been an adjustment at our house. You will often hear me say that even the positive changes are stressful and must be taken with a sense of care.  With Tyler at home traveling for work was perhaps the most stressful thing I ever did.  For days prior to leaving I would obsess over how he would do in my absence.  I could feel my stress level rise as the trip got closer.  Robin and I would have to arrange for Sam to be with her Grandparents in the evenings.  This would allow Robin to focus on Tyler and not have the concern over Tyler getting aggressive toward Sam. Unfortunately this meant that no matter how Sam was feeling, she had to be away from the house each evening until Tyler's bedtime.  Thankfully we had such great family support or else we never could have gotten through those trips.

While I was gone I worried a lot.  I would glance at my watch every so often and try to picture what was happening at home at that time.  All the while I had to perform the job I was being sent to do. In a very real sense I was trying to be in 2 places at once.  Sometimes things at home went fine, especially over the last few years, but sometimes they didn't go so well.  I would come home to holes in the walls and bruises on Robin.  It seemed that the more days a trip lasted, the more his aggression would increase.  We worried about the effect it had on him.  We worried about the stress it was putting on me especially after the panic attacks began.  We worried about the toll it took on Robin emotionally and physically.  And we worried about the lasting effects this may have been having on Samantha.  But lets face it, as caregivers we also have to be sure there is food on the table and the mortgage is paid.

Now the trips are different.  I can plan my itinerary around a much less restricted schedule. Samantha's only concern now is missing me and hoping I will bring her Swedish fish when I return home.  Robin's stress level is much less while I am gone.  And now I can try to relax more and focus on the business task at hand.  I'm not fully able to do that yet but I'm getting better slowly over time.  Certainly as important as all of this is that Tyler;s caregivers said he has had a great week.  His routine didn't change a bit which helps him tremendously.  He doesn't realize it but his stress level was better on this trip too.  

I appreciate all of you reading this who are playing that dual role of being a caregiver and yet fighting to do the job and keeping food on the table.  It is a massive struggle to put that game face on and try to pretend that everything is under control when what you are doing is quietly juggling flaming torches.  I've lived it and unless you have you cannot know how heartbreaking it is.  But you are not alone and some day you too will find peace.

Be well and good luck.  Tom

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