Don’t stop inviting us. I wrestle with migraines. Sometimes I have to cancel plans last minute. Don’t stop inviting me. A few of my children struggle with difficult behaviors. Sometimes we have to pace ourselves because of them and say no. Don’t stop inviting us. Our family has a rigid custody schedule. Sometimes we have to huddle close and skip the activities so we can take care of each other. Don’t stop inviting us. We say no a lot. We cancel a lot. But sometimes, the stars align and we get to participate and things don’t fall apart. We get to feel “normal” for a bit. Our scars don’t show for a moment and we can just be. Like all the other families. And it feels good to just feel “normal” for a time. Forgetting the brokenness we carry for a while.

Chronic pain is plain awful. You never know when it’s coming for you. You never know when you’ll have to be the flake, bailing at the last minute. Wondering if they believe you. Hoping they know it isn’t because you don’t care. So we make the plans and we run with them every chance we can. And when we can’t. We cry. We pray. We hope. Don’t stop inviting us.

Hidden disabilities are just that. Hidden. Until they aren’t. And then the judgement comes quick. We’ve tried and we’ve failed. We’ve tried and we’ve succeeded. We’ve learned a few things and we know their limits, and ours. If we keep pace we can keep the stress low, keep that hidden stuff mostly hidden. But if we don’t, they pay and we pay. And we know it. Trust us. Trust the hard learned lessons. I promise, it’s us. Not you. Don’t stop inviting us.

We’ve learned how to roll with this custody stuff. We’ve learned to make the best of it, enjoying what we can. But we still grieve what we can’t. There are certain days that are meant to be with our children and when they aren’t it stings. It stings deep. A stinging reminder of a painful past that still invades our present. We move in close before and after visits. Our circle gets small as we pour into one another. Some days we hide a little. Its easier that way. Sometimes the reminders those certain days bring are just too much and we need a little space to grieve. Sometimes we need to be surrounded, held up, reminded that we aren’t alone. Only we can make that call. And we don’t like making it. Don’t stop inviting us.

The holidays are hard. The holidays are good. We long to feel normal. Included. And I’m guessing most of you do too. Some for the same reasons, some for different. But most of all we long to be understood. All of us do. So please, with all of the parties, all the hustle, all the noise. Don’t misunderstand. Even if we can’t make it. Even if we seem flakey. Even if we cancel. Trust me when I say; it’s us, not you. Please don’t be offended. Please try to understand, even if all you understand is that you don’t understand. Knowing you want us there. Knowing we are missed. Knowing you understand. Knowing we have the space to be honest and take care of our family without losing your friendship. That’s all we need. Don’t stop inviting us. Even when we can’t make it, you’ll never know just how much that invite means. Please. Don’t stop inviting us.

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Dealing with Anxiety; Special Needs Parenting, Divorce, and Other Hard Stuff

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