Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Steel Magnolia's

My Dear Steel Magnolia's,

You. You, human that though vulnerable, and even more delicate that you appear, are also stronger, wiser and more damaged than you appear, you, sitting there. I see you.
Today might be a good day.
You know a HARD, but good day.
Because all the days regardless of how sweet, also hold some bitter.
It is a path you walk, a sharpness with each breath.
You also have an ability many people don't, the standing and brushing off and holding your head up high, seeking the light, the sunshine and moving forward.
You are amazing.

Whether you are parenting kids from hard places.
Perhaps that child is no longer in your home and you are feeling the aftershocks?
Helping a parent, or spouse through a mental or health illness.
Surviving something yourself, a loss, an illness, a depression, a fear.

I see your invisible backpack full of bricks you strap on. I see the worry lines you hide in your smile.
I see the tired, behind the sparkle in your eyes.

YOU. You are brilliant, and shiny and strong.
You deserve a medal today, just for getting up and doing it again. Give me your address and I will send you one. You like crayon and construction art right?

Last night after, returning home from an extended weekend, visiting our child at her Residential Treatment Center, I had a lump. You know “the lump”, lodged in your throat, the well of tears just under the surface of your eyes that makes things hard to see.
And so you tuck in children.
Unpack musky wet swimsuits straight into the washing machine.
Make lunches.
Re-tuck in children.
Get one more glass of water.
Wonder if you have the energy to brush your own teeth and change in to pajamas, and then you crawl into bed, exhausted, and stare.at.the.ceiling.
Because silly you, after 3 days, and two sleepless nights in a hotel room with 9 people, non stop “fun” of swimming and movies and arcades and rides, and tantrums, and pouts, and ear aches, and crying, and fighting and F.U.N. ...you thought crawling in your soft bed, you would automatically fall asleep, much like your snoring three year old who is curled up in your spot on the bed.
That three year old is a jerk. That sweet sweaty little face all sleeping, and dreaming...all ASLEEP.

And then you feel the lump, you have been ignoring. It's there. Waiting.
Kinda like the phantom “ Oh yeah, I had to pee 3 hours ago, that goes away and comes back” condition many busy mothers know.

And, hello Netflix .
Where is there a ; “I need a sad movie to make me cry about someone else's sad story, so I don't have to sit here and cry about my own stuff” category.
Too many words in a description?
Dude, they have a “ Because you watched My Little Pony:Twinkle Wish Adventure, recommendations”, category.
I am writing their customer service, after this post dangnabit.

Linds, FOCUS.

So yep, me, needing a good cry.
I have my go to's:
Greys Anatomy scenes.
Bridges of Madison County.
Simon Birch.
The Painted Veil
What are yours?
Steel Magnolia's is a double whammy for me.
You see I have a diabetic son, daily I worry “If today could be the day.”
Every morning is still a “is he breathing morning.”
I also have daughters, I would not only give my kidney to, but all of my working limbs.
I also have friends. A tribe of miraculous people that will walk me through and have times of ultimate loss.

Your show will begin in 17 seconds.
Let's open the flood gates.

I needed that cry.
I needed the multiple times I was touched and reminded that hard and sad and loss, is a human condition. During the funeral scene I thought of all of you. The parents that carry tragedy for their lost and living children.

When Malynn cries, “I -I don't thing I can take this!
I -I don't thing I can take this! I-I just want to hit somebody
'til they feel as bad as I do! I just wanna hit something!
I wanna hit it HARD!”

We have all felt that.
That alone and desperate, and empty in our pain.

When Annelle says;
“When things like this happens. I pray real hard to make heads or tail of this.”

I think of the people I know, sitting at desks getting through their days with the lump in their throats, not sure if it matters, regardless of how HARD they work, the money just isn't going to add up.
I think of Mom's driving to IEP and 504 meetings again. Fighting for rights of their children, being judged for their kids behaviors.
I think of someone holding the hand of a loved one in a hospital, not sure to plea for healing, or the peace of letting go.
I think if the broken still beating hearts of relationships torn and hurting...and still walking around.
I see you.

I walk next to you in this marathon, of hills and valleys. Dips of high highs and low lows...all with a small pebble in our shoes.
You are a warrior in yoga pants, a suit and tie, Mom jeans and a stained sweater, dress casual, 3 day worn pajamas. You, amazing. You, medal, for just breathing.

Today I got up.
I walked my autistic son through four separate triggers and melt downs.
I redirected my ADHD son a gazillion times, and though I am not confident his socks match, I am pretty sure he didn't wear penguin pajamas to school.
I made a hot breakfast for nine people.
I have already sat my five year old in 3 separate time outs and wiped pink sparkle nail polish off two walls and a counter-top. Today I walked past my child's empty bedroom at least a dozen times, each time feeling the subtle stab in my heart as it whispers, “will she ever sleep in that room again?”

I am going to be O.K.
She is going to be O.K.

“That's what my mind says,I wish someone would say that to my heart.”
You. You, human that though vulnerable, and even more delicate that you appear, are also stronger, wiser and more damaged than you appear, you, sitting there. I see you.
“You know, I love you more than my luggage.”


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Milk Before Meat...and the Kitchen Sink

The hard thing about parenting:
( O.K. , O.K. There are LOADS of HARD things about parenting) but one I am finding the most precarious right now is the ever pending “How will I know when they are ready or can do it for themselves?”
This is a constant question in my mind.

When raising kids we tend to look at it as this slowww steady, step-by-step progression of things.
In Hebrews they talk about accomplishing one thing before the other. As in giving an Infant Milk before they are ready to eat the meat.

There is also the proverb of walking before you run.
Some of our kids missed those basic steps.
Some of our kids went straight to gnawing on a T-bone before they ever learned to stomach being rocked and fed a bottle of milk.
In those cases it makes it insanely difficult to differentiate between normal expectations and situations where we as parents need to slow down and recognize our kids didn't get the melody before they learned the lyrics in any given situation.

Dear Gandolf,
How do I know when my darlings are READY, or if they will EVER be ready or trusted to:
Have a real play date?
Get there Drivers License?
Handel a extended Family Holiday?
Eat Solids?
Dive Deeper into therapy?
Potty Train, again. And then again?
Feel safe with another Care Giver?
Be safe around a pet. A sibling, anyone?
Try Medication?
Celebrate themselves?
Try a class?
Sleep with out a diaper, or at least try?
Go to a Birthday Party?
Safe to go on walks and bike rides by themselves?
Start a job?
Use scissors safely, without harming themselves, their clothing, any one else?
Be self sufficient?
I would really LIKE the answer to this PRONTO....and a magic wand, and to be admitted to Hogwarts. K? thanks.

Some of these things for neurotypical, and typical developmental kids, leave"regular parents" in a cold sweat curbing the decisions of when is appropriate.
The difficulty while parenting kids that are healing, is...the pockets of development loss make these questions and time-line WAYYY more peculiar. I have a child that can ride a bike, and is still diaper dependent.
I have had a child that was old enough to get there drivers license, yet still didn't handle extended family holidays.
It is SO VERY difficult, and such different parenting children that due to trauma in their young lives, they too have lost also the natural process of development, socially, physically, emotionally. There seems always a possibility we have to revert back, and then back farther when teaching our children what would seem to many as a basic skill.
A simple game of Gold Fish, could start with an easy read off of the rules.
Soon after, the issue of playing fair leeks out. Which requires the importance of playing fair, so everyone can trust and have fun, and yes, the PURPOSE OF THE GAME IS FOR EVERYONE TO HAVE FUN.
OH, you didn't understand the rules, really...so you got mad, and started cheating...and then got madder as your sibling threatened to stop playing with you....
It's like that.
Like all of the time.
Back up, let's try this again.

Milk before meat.
ALL of the time....and then tossing in the kitchen sink of ALL of the things. The Empathy, the Patience, the deep breathing and understanding needed as you here the “beep, beep, beep, reverse and back up noise of your proverbial parenting vehicle.

Some of my kids could totally run before they could walk, they had to,they are still ALIVE aren't they?
Some of my kids could totally win the reality show Survivor, and knock those adults into next week, but couldn't pretend play and interact with their peers to save their life...

It is a wicked dance of catch up.
A dance that can cause shame and fear and more loss if the steps aren't just right.
Man I wish I was burning more calories.
Those Dancing with the Stars people ain't got nuthin' on the therapeutic parenting tango, disco, waltz, twerking, macarena madness of it all that we do.

It's hard to remember in the moment that our kids are missing steps.
It's hard to look back along their journey and see the massive things lost in the pot holes of trauma, so many things have been taken from our kids.
When they are actively screaming in our faces, or pooping in our shoes that make it harder to see.

For many of us, we have to teach our kids in reverse order.
To practice gratitude,  before they can appreciate.
To  be in the habit to make repairs for wrongdoings, far before they feel the emotional pull to make amends.
To require being told constant truths over and over again, before honesty holds any value to them.

Milk before Meat...or back to the Meat, a GIANT glass of milk, and then cut it up in smaller pieces...and then another sip of Milk.., milkshakes are delicious too.....
mmmmm I like Milkshakes....

Wait...parenting, we are talking parenting.


I don't have all of the answers, I don't think anyone really does.
But I can tell you, while I am playing hot potato/and doing the hokey pokey, while standing on my head singing the A,B C's backwards and reteaching my kid how to properly use the vacuum, the toilet, or introduce themselves to a group of children for the 18 hundredth time, I find comfort in knowing, I am not alone.

None of us Are.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I am not Titanium or Bulletproof

Ow, Owwwwwwwie, Yo, THAT HURTS.
Sometimes the behaviors we try SO HARD to not let aggravate, puncture or hurt us that are kids do, break through that bulletproof vest and hit us straight in the heart.
And it should. Hurt.
Occasionally the stuff our kids do, should hurt us. Because if it didn't it would mean we weren't human any more.
And that is why we are here, because we wanted to be parents, we wanted to help and love and heal, we wanted to help a small one with their hurts and didn't realize how contagious their hurts would be.

Sometimes I blare this song, in the car, while sobbing and driving away; when my emotional endurance has been tested past breaking. And dude, I have great emotional endurance...it's the water boarding, the subtle everyday stick poking, that pushing on a permanent bruise feeling that tumbles me over the edge.

It's the “adorable and nice and kind to everyone” , everyone except me.
It's the triangulation with adults, the way they can ask for and need things from others, but hold their breath until they are blue in the face in order to NOT have to talk to me.
It is the capability to ask a stranger for a band-aid, but not tell me that they may have broken their arm.

That stuff there? Damn it , it hurts.
It hurts to so badly to WANT to be a soft place for them, and they would rather land ANYWHERE but near you.

This too is the symptoms of trauma, of severe trust issues. The hardest part? You are on an island where no one else see's the rejection and mind games, except you.
You can try to explain to the teacher, the aid, the therapist and in the beginning even to your own partner, and you will be met with a blank stare and a pat on the back.

It feels alienating.
It feels like you are going a little bit nuts.
It is SO SO SO hard to have these feelings of frustration and being rejected by a kid that YOU more than anyone else in the world wanted to care for and love, and now is feels like THEY would prefer that attention and love from anyone else in the world BUT YOU.

My son once hugged a homeless man.
And before you go all “Auuuuhhhhhhh, sweet, that man probably really needed a hug”...he hugged him, before he was ever willing to hug me.
For reals.

That is that grand prize of SUCK-I-NESS.
That is the grand pooh-ba of attachment hardships, you being the one person they focus their rejection on. You being their safe place to dump the stuff they wouldn't dare trust anyone else with. Stuff they protect and will SHOW NO ONE ELSE, e.v.e.r.

They throw a “I feel like crap all of the time party”, and only invite you.
It is one hell of an RSVP.
Since no one else ever gets invited, they can't know.
I know it isn't fair. I know it makes you feel worse and desperate and mourn.
I know it makes you feel like no body GETS really what is going on.

I know, many of us do.
You aren't alone.

I can tell you why your kid may be choosing these behaviors.
I can tell you why actually YOU are the most important person in their lives.
I can tell you ways to respond, ways to self care, ways to not let it hurt so bad.

Or, I can tell you.
It's O.K. To cry.
It's O.K. Not to always be made of Titanium.
It's O.K. To drive and cry and turn the music way on up.
And listen to sad, loud songs.

Now tell me, what is YOUR "let it all out", "this is wayyy harder than I thought it would be" Jam, cuz folks mama needs a new playlist. <3