12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:12-16
Do you see that rainbow? Sitting at a red light yesterday, D said, “Look! I see a rainbow! See? It’s right by the sun!” When we looked up, this is exactly what we saw. My camera did not capture the picture, but the colors were much more vivid. Really, it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen! I have gotten excited over seeing both ends of the rainbow. I have even seen a double rainbow, but never had I seen a rainbow that was a complete 360° circle around the sun. Cool, right? Beautiful, right? Amazing, right? Yeah, all of those things and more!
Yesterday we had a 6 hour pass with D. He was amazing! The behavior was exactly what I never expected to see! He worked hard to use his coping skills. He answered honestly about his ability to handle a particular situation. He warned us when he started to get anxious and we were able to give him “ways out” by either running a quick errand across the room or slightly changing our plans. He was absolutely amazing!
He had been asking for some legos for his room at the center for a long time, but we just haven’t been able to get them. Finally, yesterday, Chad told him we would see what we could find for under a certain price. We started at a thrift shop, then to a discount type store, Target, and finished at Walmart. He never found what he wanted that was also within the price range we were able to afford. Chad offered him a substitute set on 2 occasions and rather than taking them and then complaining non stop that he didn’t get what he wanted, he said, “I’d rather wait and get what I want.” No meltdowns, no tantrums, just followed the first statement with, “I’m a little sad, but it’s ok.”
WHAT?! Who was that kid??
So, today, we are having our first overnight pass. We are working to slowly reintegrate him into the family. We are working to see how he handles real life situations with our family and how well he can use his coping skills. Let me just go ahead and tell you. So far, the first 24 hour pass has been a beautiful success!
He has done so well using his coping skills. When we headed to the beach, we had difficulty finding parking. He really started to get anxious, he started the lip smacking, “OMG”ing, and “You’re skipping parking spots all over the place!” (They were spots, but they were for hotels or they were $20/day. We were planning to stay an hour or so.) He did not understand that and the anxiety was
slowly creeping leaping out of his body! So, when we realized that it might not be possible to find a parking spot, I stopped the car and let him, the girls, and Chad out of the van. They walked to the beach and Samoo and I continued to drive and find spots.
While he was very anxious, I firmly believe that was something that a normal 9 year old boy would be getting upset about. I mean, the anticipation of going to the beach is so exciting and then driving around for at least 30 minutes and still not finding a spot…yeah, very anxiety inducing (for me too)!!
He also had a difficult time at bedtime. He has never been able to handle the noise of the little ones crying, but this was more than crying. Honestly, Samoo was hot and crying, Pouty was
pouting and whining, moving towards screaming at the top of her lungs, and Spike was pouting, whining, and just being plain grouchy. Honestly, I wanted to scream right along with them because they would.not.stop.screaming.and.crying!!
I could tell his anxiety was once again really starting to rise, so I asked him if he wanted to walk out of the room. At first, Chad walked with him, but Pouty wouldn’t stop screaming. In fact, she was screaming so much that she could be heard downstairs! (We are spending a couple nights in the Ronald McDonald House.) Chad brought him back and let him sit right outside the door of our room with the computer, paper, crayons, tape, you know … all of those things that D adores … and Chad came inside to get Pouty to sleep.
Both situations, I think, would cause a normally developing child to become very anxious and upset. I was so very proud of him for taking the options to get away rather than having a tantrum. In fact, at one point during the day, there was a situation that used to cause a tantrum. He got back in the car and huffed a bit, but then went about his business. Pouty said, “Mommy, I’m scared.” (There was a noise of a jet outside the car. Not sure if she was talking about the jet or the situation.) D said, “Why, Pouty? I’m not going to have a tantrum. That’s a silly thing to tantrum about.”
I honestly believe the rainbow yesterday was a sign from God. Just like God told Noah that the rainbow was his promise never to destroy the world with another flood, I truly believe God was telling me that my boy has come full circle. Yes, we have a long way to go. I’m not so naive to believe that he has been miraculously cured, but I also know my boy is doing an AMAZING job of really working to put those coping skills in practice in the real world.
All of you that have been reading and supporting me the last year or more, I can never thank you enough for your continued love and support. I am absolutely blown away by the love you have shown and continue to show my family.
Most of all, I praise God for giving me each and every one of you. I praise His name for giving me my beautiful children, for placing the correct people where they needed to be to help my son, and for wrapping his arms around my entire family as we travel this journey.