Munch’s dad is living with limitations. He’s disabled. He’s not in a wheel chair. He’s on a cane. He can still walk. I haven’t spoken about it. He has health issues that have caused a deterioration in his health. One in which he refers to as a “poor man’s Lou Gehrig’s”. He is almost 43 and has been living with this for some time now.
He falls. His legs give way. He has hurt himself because his legs gave way and he wasn’t prepared. There are some things that are quite difficult for him to do and some things he won’t be able to do in a few years. It is our new normal.
No matter how difficult co-parenting can be I’m always going to care about my ex-husband’s ability to take care of Munch. That being said, I’m an advocate for the acceptance and truth of a situation. He – not so much. LOL. My ex is not ready to accept some things. He doesn’t want his disability to define him. It doesn’t.
However, we can’t ignore his health issues. For example, he was hospitalized last month. He interrupted his normal visitation schedule to send me a text to say that he needed to go to the emergency room and was going to go to a local hospital near my home and wait for me to get our son. Really? I’m at work a good 40 minutes away from my house during rush hour. The hospital would be another 1 1/2 hours away from my job during rush hour.
I sighed. I called my mother. She worked 10 minutes away. She met him and got my son. He went to the hospital. My life is about expecting interruptions. When you have a parent that has health issues you expect the unexpected. I’m not mad.
My mother has been a tremendous help with my son. I started a new job and I can’t take off as frequently and she’s adjusting her schedule for the unexpected. Our co-parenting is really not two adults. It is a triangle. His dad, my mom and me. We’re adjusting.
Neither is greater than the other. We just need to recognize the integral part we play in Munch’s overall development. Including backing up and supporting each other at all times.
Munch knows that his dad’s health is not like everyone else. He worries which is probably part of his anxiety, but his dad wants to keep that at a minimum. Which means he makes the decision to not tell his son that he’s hospitalized. I accept it and adjust. I don’t like it. I just evade any questions and say “Ask your dad”.
His health was of major concern when we finally got him in the Before and After Care program at the school. This was a great win because we found out a couple of weeks after school. It was at Back to School Night that I discovered that the school sits on a hill with the cafeteria on the top level and the only access is from metal stairs on the side of the building.
This isn’t going to work I thought. My ex and I share custody and he can’t park down a hill, walk up a hill and then to the metal steps to get our son. I explained to both the principal and vice principal that I needed an accommodation because the cafeteria is not ADA accessible from the side of the building. No other doors are opened accessing the school prior to 8:45 am. He can’t climb the steps.
They were very understanding and said that the Before and After Care staff must send someone down to pick him up and bring him out. I thanked them. The thing I’ve discovered in dealing with administration is that sometimes they are slow as heck. I wasn’t pleased. They finally confirmed that they would do that.
I mean really? It’s the law. My son is navigating his new normal like a champ, sometimes too much. When I dropped him at school last week and we got out of the car and walked up the hill and stairs to Before and After Care he said, “Mommy, you don’t need to do that. Just call them and they will come and get me.” I laughed.
The innocence of children.