This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life. ~Author Unknown~
This quote is so beautiful and perfect. This is the wish that every parent reading this blog has for their children. I feel confident in that; I do not believe you would be reading blogs like this if you did not have dreams for your children.
Of course, we had visions of our kids in the future. Of course, when pregnant or on an adoption waiting list, we thought of our children experiencing all of those exciting firsts. We all thought of our children growing up to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and so on. We all thought of the type of person our children would marry and then playing with our grandchildren.
As the mama to a child with special needs, those visions often change.
My biggest dream for my children, all of my children is the same that I remember my mom always saying. I want my children to have happy hearts and a relationship with Christ.
I have cried many, many tears over the years. The last 18+/- months has been the most difficult I can imagine. I have cried because my son has been tortured with increased frequency and intensity by his own mind and body. I have cried because my daughters have been tortured by the circumstances surrounding their brother. I have cried because my children loved each other, but were terrified of each other. D terrified by the thought of the girls being loved more. The girls terrified by D’s anxiety, agitation, and aggression. I have cried tears of guilt, believing that because of something I have done, my children would never grow up with happy hearts and relationships with Christ.
This weekend reminded me that my dreams for my children can come true!
Sunday, we went to see D. We had a 2hr visit with him on campus and a 2hr pass with him off campus.
Chad and I have learned some things – first and foremost, we make decisions before we get there. We say, “On your pass today, we are going to do xyz. We are not going to do abc. This may change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances at which point Mommy & Daddy will decide what to do.” We have quit asking, “So, D, what would you like to do today?” Giving him an open ended question puts too much pressure on him and he is unable to make a decision. I’ve always known this, but many times I did what it took to prevent a major tantrum or rage. All in the name of keeping the peace…
We told him what we would be doing with no room for discussion. He asked several times to go buy legos, could we go shopping, and so on. We stood strong and did exactly what we said we’d be doing. He got a little agitated, but was able to reign himself back in and move forward with the pass. WIN!!!
Monday, we had family therapy and then we took him out on a 4hr pass. We told him that our plan was to take him for his new shoes. Side note: This was his 5th pair of shoes since going there. This kid has been doing some serious playing! lol
Back to the story… So, after that, our plan was to head to the beach. Oh, yeah, except the bottom fell out and it poured rain during the 1.5hrs it took us to find a pair of shoes (insert heavy sigh here). Since it was pouring rain, we got lunch instead (insert another sigh because Cracker Barrel makes me want to have an anxiety attack, but that’s what he wanted).
D did an excellent job during the shoe shopping, despite the fact that one of the ladies working there was trying to discipline/counsel him. She was trying to explain that he would go to a foster home or somewhere else if he didn’t treat me nicely. She even went as far as to say, “They have schools for kids who don’t know how to behave.” (I nearly choked when she said that. I wanted to say, “Look, he’s on a 4hr pass from that school. Back off, lady!”) His anxiety was high and he couldn’t find anything we could both agree on, she kept showing him the same ugly pair of shoes and he told her several times he didn’t like them. The last time, she said, “Here, try it on anyway.” and pushed it at him. He put his hand out and then when she let go, he did too and the shoe fell to the floor. Honestly, I can’t decide whether he was really out of line. I mean, how many times does a child have to say, “I don’t like those shoes” and still be expected to be polite. Am I condoning rude behavior? Absolutely not, but I also don’t know how else he was supposed to get his point across without verbally telling her to go fly a kite. Ya know?
The entire weekend was great. The girls were so excited to have such a good visit with D. Spike said several times, “I’m so glad I got to see my big brother!” Pouty said, “D was nice to us! I’m so glad he was good to us this time!” They were genuinely happy to spend time with him and they genuinely enjoyed the visits.
I am praising God for giving D the opportunity to learn the new coping skills and put them to use. I praise God for giving my girls good memories with their big brother. I praise God for giving us these glimpses of normal. Having this weekend where life was practically normal, gave me a happy heart.
I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.