Wednesday, July 30, 2003    


Necessary Respite

By:Sonya W.

I live in a very small town in central Iowa in the United States and I have a very special situation that needs to be addressed. I have three children all with special needs. Before these children, I never really thought of myself as an artist, but I was always very crafty.

I worked in an office without much chance to be creative so during the evenings, I always dabbled with one craft or another just so I could do something with my hands that didn't require a computer or a pen or a calculator. I went through a phase where I cross-stitched. And another phase of making mop dolls (why I did this I have forgotten because they aren't cute at all). I've done numerous things with fabric and wood and dried flowers.

And I often displayed these "crafts" throughout my home with waves of pride. Then I had children and these children were diagnosed as disabled... Slowly, many of the items in my home were either broken or packed away - either way, they were out of sight. And many of my crafts were dismissed because the children took every waking moment for their cares. These were troubled times because I was over-stressed and I could feel myself falling apart.

Soon thereafter, I started receiving respite care through our state Department of Human Services and then the guilt set in. Here I was passing my duties as mother on to somebody else so I could have time to myself. And the entire time I used respite, I felt guilty about it.

Then one day, I was invited to a scrapbooking party at another lady's home. She told me to bring a handful of pictures and my imagination. And I fell in love. Here was something I could do that still felt creative and allowed me to express myself while at the same time documenting everything I love about my children. The guilt slipped away.

Now I take the time to scrapbook every week while qualified respite providers care for my children. I am no longer over-stressed (granted I do have much more stress in my life than most, but I am not at the breaking point any longer) and I feel happy. I don't feel guilty for taking the time to scrapbook about my children - no I feel exactly the opposite: I feel proud.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: How scrapbooking has changed my life...., by Laurel M

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