Archive for October, 2008

Words Hurt: A Sunday Lesson

Today was a typical Sunday for me and the kids: Cleaning day. Finally feeling better, I designated this as “Blast the Flu Outta Here” day. This meant I was well equipped and prepared to Lysol and bleach any hard surface in the house. This is also known, on any given Sunday, as laundry day.

Sticking to ritual and routine, I announced the purpose of the day to both of my little sweeties, and mentioned the consequences of giving me a hard time about doing their chores. The first offense was a week of grounding off the television, which I knew would hit hard. The payment for the second offense of complaining or back-talk would be that they lose their classroom Halloween party on Friday. Yes, parents have the right to use these things at their whim! To my char grin, both kids agreed to the stakes and promised to do a great job for me.

Of course, this wasn’t the case. When asked to do the very first task, Ryan began crying and complaining, and even said he wasn’t prepared for this to be cleaning day. What?! Last I knew, I only had one son, and he was the one who agreed to the activities of the day. Huh. Well, I pulled the first consequence, informing Ryan that he was now grounded off the t.v. for a week. This led to more tears and drama, which led to him losing his Halloween party. Feeling drained from the hysteria, I gave him one chance to earn back his party by taking his clean clothes to his room and putting them away. He gave me some tears but did it anyway. Victory!

Or so I thought. When going through his homework folder as I prepared for the beginning of the school week, I found a spelling paper that needed to be done. I handed it to Ryan and told him to get it done. He said no. Simply, “No.” Excuse me?! When did a parent’s directive become optional? Ryan threw the paper on the floor and yelled, “You always yell! I feel like you don’t love me! You say cruel things to me!” What?? Me?? I didn’t see that coming. Ryan called me out, and when he did, he looked the most grown-up I’ve ever seen him. He was also, the most articulate I’ve ever heard him. Wow, this we needed to discuss, no matter how uncomfortable.

I was hurt and proud all in a split second and needed a minute to recover. I took a deep breath and began to talk to my sweet boy in a loving and patient tone. He almost made eye contact and that is a big deal. I told him how much I love him and how I would never intentionally hurt him. I asked him what cruel thing I said that is hurting his heart. “You told me you wanted to knock my head off, and that was horrible mom!” And the knife slid deeper into my wounded heart. I did say those words. On more than one occasion. I was beyond frustrated. I apologized to Ryan as he looked across the room. I asked for forgiveness. “I forgive you mommy. I love you.” I swallowed my tears. I didn’t have the right to cry or feel hurt after the way I hurt my child. I had to suck it up, just like he had to when I shouted those words in anger and exasperation.

We had a nice talk after the initial issue was left to hang. I explained that we have to work as a team, and be extra kind and respectful of each other. I also let Ryan know that my frustration, although seemingly directed at him, is mostly from other things. I made sure that he knew that as the adult, it was my responsibility to stay in control of my words and actions and that I would try to do a better job. He said, “You’re a good mom.” Probably not, but I am so trying!

Ryan, reaching his max for this emotional situation, lay down and put his head in my lap. He wrapped his arms around my waist and took a deep sigh. I could feel him relax against me. I felt loved and forgiven. I also remembered with harsh clarity that I am his protector and anchor. How ironic that I am also the one that has the power to wound him so deeply.

The Autumn Visitor

Tis the season of respiratory distress and influenza! I think I’ve had more illnesses in the past month than most people get in a year! Seriously, after battling a sever sinus infection and bronchitis for most of September and into October, I have fallen ill with the flu. Actually, the whole house has the flu. We’ve been plagued with middle of the night vomiting, backaches, and other unmentionable symptoms. As a matter of fact, I’ve probably said too much already! So sorry. 🙂

I’m afraid my health has led to more than usual absences at school, putting my December graduation in jeopardy. I hate being the victim of circumstances beyond my control! I hate being a victim period. I suppose, I’m in a situation where flexibility is the order of the day. I can’t control illness, and so, let the chips fall where they may. I’m a fighter and won’t go down easily. I am woman, hear me roar!

Building Something Beautiful From Something Broken

Really, the title speaks volumes. What I believed was totally lost and beyond repair has beat the odds. Although our marriage hasn’t been one for the record books, when Hubby and I reminisce, we’ve really had a better relationship than most couples.

The very heart of our marriage and friendship is humor. This humor comes in the form of kitchen dances to our favorite 80’s music, impersonation various movie characters and family members, random comments, and sharing memories from our past. This is good stuff folks! Really, to build the marriage of our dreams, we’ve had to strip our dynamic down to it’s very core and find beauty in the things that work for us.

I really think we’re going to make it, which is probably going out on a limb. I’ve realized how committed to our children we both are, how our friendship is the calm in our storm, and how we need to take it day by day and minute by minute to keep our minds and hearts focused on the present. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the big picture, for sure. I want to be settled, I want to be committed, and I want to be with this man forever.

**I’d like to thank Magic Doug for his weekly challenges, and also, the pharmaceutical company who makes my mood stabilizer. Both are equally responsible for my wonderful attitude adjustment!

A Beautiful Beginning

I feel the need to put the last month and a half in writing. Really, I want to look back on this time, perhaps at a not-so-good time in the future, and remember that Ryan is miraculous. Of course, as his mother, I view him as a miracle everyday, but as a mother who is in the trenches of his autism and bipolar, of late, he is nothing short of remarkable.

Ryan and I entered into his fourth grade year not really certain of how things would go. Socially, the age of nine is a pivotal time in regards to building relationships with others, and relying more on non-verbal communication. Fourth grade is a time, as I’ve been told by veteran educators and psychologists, where reputations are developed, cliques are formed, bullying begins, and academic pressure rears its ugly head. For these reasons, I went into the beginning of the school year holding my breath and waiting for the drama to commence.

Instead, I’ve been privileged to see how my son has grown, both emotionally and socially. He made it through the transition into a new class and being under the direction of a new general education teacher. He didn’t bat an eyelash as the Resource Room was changed to a new location and a second teacher was introduced into the mix. He was calm and composed during a totally spontaneous practice fire drill, and even gave his teacher a double hi-five after they made it back into the classroom (I attribute his preparedness to the dozens of emergency evacuation plans Ryan has posted throughout the house). Also, after much hesitation, Ryan sat down in front of the camera on picture day and flashed his best awkward smile. Most recently, Ryan made it through his first field trip without his “life-line” (me) as a chaperon. AMEN!!!

Almost daily, his general ed teacher sends me what I’ve begun to refer to as “smile-o-grams.” It seems not a day goes by without some sort of social or academic victory for my sweet boy. The whole school staff has noticed this very beautiful change in Ryan, and you can imagine how hard it is to hold back my tears of joy as I am hearing constant reports of instances where he has exceeded expectation. This mommy has a lot to be thankful for!

Peace, love, and miracles to all 🙂