Hi Mom and Dads, It has been on my mind lately that I should write a message about hope. You see, my kids and I have come so far. We have achieved so many goals and cleared so many hurdles. I feel compelled to share these not so small miracles with you.
In my life, I have always felt that when God blesses you, it is important to share it. Sharing his blessings I feel, is part of the package. One of the reasons God sends them my way, the bigger picture.
Hope. When contemplating the best approach I should use to send a message of hope, I thought at first about sharing all of my fears, tears, concerns, doubts.....everything.
I thought that I would lead with these first paralyzing days of the past and segway into all of the insights and triumphs I have encountered as I journeyed into the world of Sensory Issues. Pump you all up with positive expletives that would include, "Don't worry", "Keep the faith", "It will all work out" kind of messages.
Then I thought, No I think I would rather just recap and highlight my children's story.
After all, it is in their stories that hope is found.
Michael. Michael is my 7yr. old. It was around age 2 that my eyebrows started to raise a bit. By Kindergarten, age five, he was out of control, smart mouthed, contemptuous, behind in emotional/social/academic milestones. Dressing issues. It was at the start of Kindergarten which brought it all to a head, full throttle. It was then that he truly unraveled, taking Michael and the entire family to a new scarier, deeply concerning place.
Full throttle meant that he began hurting his twin brother Everett. He started throwing chairs across the room, lying, stealing, attacking us parents to the point that I had to body restrain him by wrapping myself around him until he calmed down. I would sit him on the floor. I would sit behind him and criss/cross my legs around him while simultaneously crossing his arms around his body with my own arms just to keep him in place. I essentially turned myself into a straight jacket. He would at that point, start slamming the back of his head into the front of my chest. I started to keep a pillow on hand to cushion the blows as I was afraid he was going to break my chest bone. Each time, when I had to do this, my tears would spill down my cheeks and land on the top of his head while I waited for it to end. There were now holes in his walls, the tops of his dressers were destroyed. The antique furnishings, which I imagined survived many happy childhoods now were defaced with deep angry scratches to the point that their entire finish was completely gone.
I could not get this child to do anything. Not read, not write, sit at a dinner table, the list was endless. The worst part of it all was that when I looked into my child's eyes after he did something wrong, I could not find remorse. I loved this child. I can't even begin to tell you the endless tears I have shed over this child of mine. Although I suspect some of you reading this are nodding your head right about now.
I will never forget the day when Michael just pushed me to my end. I was on his heels chasing him as he tried to run away from me. He was half way up the stairs and I shouted out his name, "Michael", I screamed as I walked up to him as to tower over him. He stopped, turned, and just glared at me. Just glared. A glare filled with so much anger, contempt, disdain. "Michael", I said in a voice that I did not recognize as my own, my finger pointing directly in his face, "Understand this now...YOU WILL NEVER BEAT ME. I AM BIGGER AND STRONGER AND SMARTER THEN YOU. NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO OR SAY, UNDERSTAND THIS NOW MICHAEL, YOU WILL NEVER EVER WIN. YOU WILL NEVER, EVER, BEAT ME."
I looked into my sons eyes, and for the first time, I saw his lower lip tremble, His beautiful blue eyes filled with tears. He just stared back at me, turned, and walked away. I shrunk down upon the stair and I cried, again for what felt like the thousandth time. I too had now unraveled. I was ashamed.
It was time to call a doctor. I did.
I questioned, listened, read, tried, failed, tried again.
That was about one and a half years ago.
Today, Michael is thriving in first grade. Michael is my child with a big heart and he has learned how to express it. He is smart, sensitive, intuitive, thoughtful, funny...boy is he funny. He is a child that is now capable of showing empathy and compassion. He has learned tolerance, emotional control, and self regulation. He no longer cries when he dresses. Gone are his rages and destructive outbursts. He has learned to use his words instead of his fists. Michael's world has become more organized from a sensory perspective. He has found his smile, and it is a beautiful one.
When we started this journey, I was disheartened, afraid, lost, confused and angry. Today, I can see that our battle wounds are starting to fade. Never to be forgotten, more a badge of honor.
. I remember a moment in time when I first started this journey of trying to understand. Michael was sitting across from me at the kitchen table. In a moment of trying to transcend my love, to repair some of our tough moments, I told Michael that I thought he was perfect. His reply was so succinct...so right on. Those blue eyes of his looked back at me, straight in the eye and said, "Oh yeah? If I'm so perfect then why are you trying to change me?". It was at that moment, I realized that before I could hope to "change" him, I would first have to accept him.
So as I end this post, I find myself having to confess that I have indeed lied. For I truly can not end this story without saying to all of you...."Don't worry" "Keep the faith" "It will all work out".