We can do it

Monday, June 02, 2008

A day in the life

My middle son has a behavioral disorder. It still remains undiagnosed. We have several guesses on the table ranging from ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) to a sensory disorder, to adjustment disorder.

At this point I don't really care what it is called I just want him to be normal.

He's a wonderful boy. He's handsome, athletic, smart as a whip and very sweet. The problem is, you never when he is going to snap. Just when I think I have a handle on things, they go south again.

Nobody said parenting was easy. Yeah...but nobody told me it would be this hard.

Don't get me wrong, I love him. I love him so much it actually physically hurts. Some days this stuff rolls off me like water on a duck's back. Other days I just look at him and my heart clenches. Things are better than they were, but now I see we have so so so far to go.

I really debated sharing too much about this...airing laundry and all. But the truth is, this blog is about me...who I am...what my life is like. And not expressing this part of it isn't really expressing who I am.

My little man loves me. I know this. He tells me how pretty I am every single day. Over and over and over. It's like he contains these wild emotions and he so desperately has to share them. Good ones and bad. So when he is feeling loving, he feels it BIG. So much that it oozes out his pores. He wants to hug me constantly and share everything he has within himself. He will kiss me and compliment me like it is our last chance. It's like he aches inside to make sure that I know he loves me.

Ten minutes later he could be the exact opposite. The contrast is staggering. He is prone to violent outbursts. Just when I think I know what is causing them, the pattern changes. Or there is no pattern. It used to be concentrated on me. That was bad enough. He would infuriate me to the point where I would completely lose it. Screaming, shoving him into his room and shaking with anger and understanding how easy it would be to go too far. Then he would cry and run to me and we would hold each other weeping and confused. Other times, I would feel so broken I would lay on the floor and just let him hit me. How do you defend yourself against that - emotionally or physically?

In those moments, I wonder if he really does hate me. But I know he doesn't. I can sense his frustration all around him. I know it is something he fighting against. I know in those desperate moments when he hugs me so tight and says over and over and over, "I love you mommy", that those are his truest feelings.

Nowadays, his rages are less severe. But there is underlying anger still there and he lashes out at other children. Which to me is worse. The extreme violence has been tempered and now he just hits unprovoked. But it is short lived, generally.

I've come a long way. That giant gift wrapped box of guilt that they handed me the day he was born is just a little bit lighter. I've learned to get thicker skin when I am judged by strangers...or even people that I know. I've learned not to (always) crumple inside when I hear criticism of my parenting. I've learned that it really isn't my fault. And that was a tough one to let go. That one still creeps up on me if I am not careful. It slips through the cracks and I have to beat it back out again. I've learned that NOBODY could do a better job with him than Dan and me because God hand selected us to be his parents. And for some reason, he thought we were the ideal ones to guide him through this challenge in life.

I think I have been able to overcome the depression that I was sinking into. There are days where I have to fight tooth and nail against it. But most days, I grab onto my faith in the Lord with both hands and march forward into the mire.

I believe Stinky is special. I believe there is a purpose for him that is beyond the norm. I believe he will be an extraordinary man and a great joy in my life. He already does bring me joy. Lots of it. It's just that many times, the joy just doesn't outweigh the worry.

I hesitate here, before I publish this, thinking - how could a mom write these things about her son? But it is truth. It's my life. It's who I am. And also, I have spent hours, days even poring over other mom blogs of people experiencing the same things and it has been a source of comfort to me.

I love my son. And not a day has gone by, even at it's worst, that I haven't felt that way until it hurts.


Anonymous said...

You are right! God did select you to be his parents and you are WONDERFUL parents to your children! I love you and I know God is proud of you. I know one day your son will be too!

I love you.

Ginny said...

This does describe who you are. You are the strong mom that has a son with a problem that you will work through with him. All of our children can be a challenge at times. I do believe that you are right, God chose you guys as his parents. God does not make mistakes.

Caro said...

Awww, you made me cry.

Has your pedi referred you to somebody who will find out what it is? Our local regional center dx'd my son and it was free.

It's hard to know what to do when you don't have a diagnosis yet.

Also, if you haven't joined, I have to recommend cafemom. There is a group for everything and there may be mamas on there who can help.

He's lucky to have you.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Okay....I have tears running down my face right now...because I COULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS POST!

I know, only too well, that look of judgement when my son falls out in public.....the walk of shame when I have to meet with the director of the preschool AGAIN for some horrific thing he has done to his teacher or another student......that feeling of...if only for a split second....wanting to HURT him! Then the guilt....that is the worst part of it all!

I will tell you that taking JM to professionals made me feel like I was NOT crazy.....like there was something there and it just wasn't due to my lack of patience!

Also....when you do get a diagnosis, his school should accomadate you with a modified behavior plan. JM has a sensory disorder....he is hypersensitive to sound and touch...so his plan encompasses that. AND...at my school....we have an ODD child who has a paraprofessional with him at all times.

I feel your pain....and I appreciate your candor in sharing your story. You are NOT alone!

Dr.John said...

Just keep loving him and do the best you can.He needs to be loved.

Gingers Mom said...

Thank you all for your support. THat means the world to me. Some times all I hear is criticism. And most of that is coming from inside my own head. He has been seeing a pshyologist for the last 6 months and now we are looking into other options...which seem few and far between.