Mommy Guilt. Special Needs Edition

Thursday night was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I got invited to a party to celebrate M’n'M’s new ad campaign:  Better with M. As a card-carrying Twitter addict, I sometimes get invited to events because my chance of mentioning it on social media is greater than most.

The Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band played cocktail hour and as I was buzzing around taking pictures with my cell phone, I happened to notice Neil Patrick Harris just hanging out. Later we were swept into the ball room where I got my picture taken with Mr. Harris and then John Besh, a well-known New Orleans chef, came out to tell us about our dinner. This wasn’t just food–this man was feeding us CONCEPTS. Or something like that. To give you an idea of how fancy this party was, the water they were pouring in our glasses? Evian. I was waaaay out of my league.

After dinner there was a performance given by none other than Vanessa Williams. VANESSA-FREAKIN’-WILLIAMS. Also: she’s got at least fifteen years on me and she’s about half my size. I’m totally jealous. Ms. Williams is the voice of the brown M’n'M and she’s the star of the commercial they’ll be debuting during the Super Bowl. At one point I took a picture of my table–not trying to share anything with anyone, but just as a reminder to myself of the moment–magical and perfect and surreal.

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When we got home, my MIL reported that August had been extremely irritable: flappy, spinny, and unhappy. The next day he had a runny nose and we had more of the same–he was distant, avoided eye contact, and was overly interested in chewing on cardboard. It was hard and my heart hurt.

And of course, you question your decisions. Should I have gone to the party? What is causing this? The illness or something else? I cried.

I don’t think going to party made a difference one way or the other. By Saturday his runny nose was improving and so were the undesirable behaviors. He wasn’t great, but he was better. It seems more likely that whatever virus he had was giving him problems.

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It’s Carnival season here in south Louisiana

I think you always question your choices as a parent–and maybe more so as a special needs mom. Some days it feels like every minute is too precious to be spent doing anything but tending to your children. Other days the burnout gets you and you have to let things go a bit. You can’t avoid the guilt, though. You can mitigate it. You can remind yourself that you’re only one person. You can do all these things, but the tinges of guilt stay with you.

I haven’t figured out how to avoid that and I’m not sure I ever will.

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