Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The pot holes in Great Expectations

         Recently with the guidance and recommendation of a local therapist, I have been meeting with a brave, hurting group of parents that are beginning to learn the ropes (and marathon style life) of therapeutic parenting.

Our first support class began with a conversation about expectations…and the need to recognize why sometimes being the parent to child that struggles with behaviors or special needs can make us feel so lost, sad and frankly desperately angry at times.

Simply put, whispered into the depth of our truths;
“This is not what I thought it was going to be.”
“They are not who I thought they were going to be.”
“I am not who I thought I was going to get to be.”

Damn expectations.
Those daydreams that were used to fill the time when our arms were empty for them, and our hearts felt like they would burst in the wanting, to love a child, to parent a child, for the relationship that was to come and how amazing it would be.

Sure there were to bumps and bruises to be expected, maybe a cast, or a broken window or two…

Not what is here.
Not who I have become to be in the moments I don’t recognize myself.

Author Brene’ Brown did a humans study on forgiveness.
I am paraphrasing her glorious work when I say, “that in order for forgiveness to occur, a death has to happen, something needs to be buried….so something new can be reborn.

I remember watching that and my jaw dropping open.
“YES, I yelled at my computer screen! YES”

In order for acceptance and the ability to move on from what I thought my parenting experience was going to be, I needed to grieve the child I thought I would have.
I needed to mourn who I thought I was going to be, I needed to tell them both how much I loved and wanted that day dream, and then I needed to kiss them good bye, and bury them, in order to fully face what is here and now and to come.

Admitting  this isn’t what I wanted, that I am not amazing, as much as I am just present.
That this is hard and messy, and there are days I long to lock myself in my bedroom in pajamas, binge watching Netflix, and eating an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting, doesn’t make me a bad anything, it makes me human…

cuz that’s what we get.
That is who we are, we are human.
... and as humans we see snippets of people’s Instagram, and create a whole life for them in our heads. We see humorous Facebook posts, and think, “gez, nothing bad must happen over there”…
We see crafty pictures on Pinterest and  believe  the myth that nothing but a perfect family walks the hallowed halls of that amazing Craftsman’s style bungalow.


Because, no matter the person, no matter the day or year, bank account or body type we all mourn something. We all have expectations blow up in our faces.   So.

Whatever it is that you needed to do today to get you and your kids through the day?

Going to the drive through at McDonalds because you didn’t have the energy to make dinner?
YOU are an amazing parent!

Slapping bandaids on yourself  after walking a child through an angry rage/
YOU are an amazing parent !!

You screamed at your kid to “GO AWAY”…because you just couldn’t be whined at or fought with for one more second?
YOU are an amazing Parent!!!
…and tomorrow is another day.

We are not our daydreams.
We are not a picture on Instagram
Our Craftsman bungalows have broken, kicked-in  doors and swear words written with crayon on the walls.

and in the wise words of Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch.

“This is my family. It is small and it is broken,
but it is still good.

Yeah, still good.”

~In tandem with the local parenting support class, my amazing friend Christine Moers and I are offering a live "Coffee Hour" with Christine and Lindsay online via Skype group on this very topic of "Expectations" through April 1st.
If you are interested in the details, and would like to join us, please check put these links, and we will see you there!
March 31st: https://onlinecoffeehourmarch31.eventbrite.com

April 1st: https://onlinecoffeehourapril1.eventbrite.com

Friday, March 11, 2016

Yes, You may absolutley Run Away....

I said that.
While driving home from my kids therapy appointment last week.
“Yes, you may absolutely run away.”

You see, this ‘running away thing’ has been a ’thing’ since this kid was three.
He would get over stimulated, or mad, and take off.
Naked, with one sock..whatever…he was shoeless joe Jackson in the making.

This same kid, likes to hide.
Now, all of these things, not fun, or good, but then  add a lil’ thing like type one diabetes to the mix, and I was dealing with a runner and a hider could kind of welllll die, if I didn’t catch them or find them in time.

So last week as we drove home from therapy, while as usual processing what was being worked on, what homework he had, and what still seems to be tough issue, the running away came up.
I point blank asked.
“How come you run away, can you help me understand what goes on in your brain?

“I am mad. Usually something bad happened at school and I am sad/mad, and don’t want to be anywhere. I want to get away. I want you to KNOW I am running away and having big feelings. I want you to worry, so I won’t be the only one feeling bad!”

“Wow, thank you for sharing that with me, dude, that was really honest and insightful.”


“What if I told you,
“Yes, “yes, you may absolutely run away.”

He just turned and stared at me, confused.
“Don’t you love me anymore.”

“Oh baby, I do, I am just trying to really listen to you and what you need, and I think I have an idea….
What if, I told you, yes, you can totally run away, whenever you need to, but we have some ground rules…”

“Like what?”

“You have to come in from the Bus.
“You have to tell me you are running away”
“You may run away to anywhere on our property.”
“You will have a back pack packed with a blanket and snack to take with you…”
and…need to tell me which place you are hiding so I can come out and check your blood sugar on the half hour.”

“Can I still scream that “I am running away” and slam the door?”



And we shook on it.

This week he has ran away three times. Twice to our out building and once when it was raining to the old pick up cab. ( I may have left a note that it was raining and this would be a dry option to run away to)

Our kids’ behaviors have need and feelings behind them.
We can’t always stop a behavior, but maybe we can reign in those boundaries, and still give them room.
Sometimes when I can remember, it isn’t exactly the result that they are looking for, but the action, in the doing. I needed to put on my big girl britches and remember “HE is NOT doing this to ME, he wasn’t running away from ME, in a way, he was asking me to join him in his feelings, of feeling out of control.

 Our little people don’t always have words for how they are feeling, but they absolutely find ways to speak it…our job is to listen, to meet them where they are at.
We found a way to help him get what he needed, in a way I could support, and feel much less panicked about…and sometimes that is as good as it gets….

and in my world, that looks an awful lot like winning.