I had an anxiety attack right before I took Matthew to school today. A smallish, milder anxiety attack compared to others I have had, but significant enough. I was loading the dog and kids in the car when suddenly out of my own backyard came this ENORMOUS black and brown rottweiler cross (it looked like the cross was a pitbull, based on the shape of his head). He wasn't aggressive, but he was VERY FRIENDLY and in my space!!! He investigated the cat, and then effectively 'chased' me around the yard and driveway as I panicked. I don't like big, scary dogs, I don't like them surprise visiting my yard, and I definitely don't like them getting friendly with no owner in sight. He had obviously escaped from his yard and was having an explorational adventure, meeting the neighbours and such. Yaughck. Not my cup of tea. So then I had to drive while crying and shaking, pretending that I'm fine for Matthew.
I'm over it now, but it was a bit of an adventure in my own driveway.
In funnier news, this morning Riley figured out how to turn on the answering machine that is built into our phone, and which we don't use. He also recorded a greeting of himself chattering and babbling for about five minutes! Every time the phone rang and I didn't get to it in time (um, that's about 99.98% of the time), I got to hear his babbling coming from the phone. As did our callers. Brent phoned and actually thought it was Riley live, and was talking to him. He felt foolish when he discovered it was just a recording. :)
I figured out how to turn it off again so that message is no longer available, but it was sure funny at the time. I heard the phone ring, then Riley's voice, even though i was holding Riley on my hip....it took me a minute to figure out what was going on!
Also, I wanted to mention that since Riley was born I've been terrified of one small thing. I've been afraid that once Riley reaches the age or developmental stage that Matthew was in when we first adopted him, that I will start having aweful flashbacks or memories of the hardest times. You know, times where I yelled at Matthew while he cried, or slapped him to try and get him to stop holding his breath, or just times when he would do something and I would think to myself, "I HATE HIM! WHAT HAVE I DONE???!?" or a million other guilty, anxious, angry memories. I'm still afraid of this. Riley is not quite the age Matthew was when we adopted him, but he is definitely doing things Matthew was doing developmentally. But so far I've been blessed beyond measure with happy memories of Matthew at Riley's age or stage. Tuesday I was pushing Riley on the swing at the park and he was laughing and laughing, and I clearly remembered pushing Matthew on a swing at the park and him spitting gleefully until his jacket and chin were soaked, laughing his head off. And countless other times when I pushed Matthew on the swing and we would play tickle--every time I pushed him, I would squeeze the ticklish spot on his thigh right above his knee, and he would fling back his head and giggle. Then he would swing away and look back at me, all sparkly eyed, waiting for the next tickle.
I also pulled out some of the clothes Matthew wore when he first came home, because they now fit Riley and are the appropriate season, and I've been overwhelmed with happy memories of Matthew wearing them, and nostalgia about when he was small.
OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygosh, it's like the time when my counsellor asked me, "Do you ever picture Matthew as a grown up, happy man, married and with children of his own?" and I just neverever had--I just hadn't pictured that I would pull out clothing or memories from Matthew's first months with us and feel HAPPY, and remember GOOD STUFF! I'm realizing that maybe, amongst all the hardest moments, there were a lot [A LOT] of good moments that my memory dismissed. I wanted to not live in denial of my inability to cope as a parent, and I wanted to acknowledge how hard it must be for Matthew to live with a noncoping parent, and I wanted to punish myself with guilt, but in so doing I think I went overboard and forgot to notice anything peaceful or calm or positive or strong in me or between myself and Matthew.
I'm glad the swingset and the tiny clothes and Riley himself are helping me to redeem that. Whew.