How could a baby this cute create unimaginable anxiety in anyone? He was a sweet baby, for the most part pretty easy (now I realize easier than he should have been), and pretty quiet. Except when he wasn’t…
When D was a baby, we spent a lot of time in the car with my mom and brother. Jared was in middle and high school. He had anxiety like I had never seen, he could get to a point of irritability that I thought surely his head would explode, the car door would be ripped off, or we might all see the roof of the car spontaneously eject. No, really, I was sure of it!
At the time, I could not understand his inability to understand, “He’s JUST a baby!?” I truly could not understand how someone could be so easily frustrated by the fact that this precious, but upset baby could not help himself. I found myself equally as frustrated with Jared because I thought he was being totally unreasonable.
I think it was foreshadowing…
These three beautiful children create the same sense of anxiety in D. They don’t mean to…they are just little children. One squeals, the other whispers, and the one in the middle seems to babble only when the tension in the car is like the humidity after an August thunderstorm.
All three can send D into an anxiety attack that looks like an award winning performance of a meltdown. No performance, it is truly the epic meltdown.
Prior to him going to RTC I tried, but I did not realize that sometimes you just stop. Who cares where you are, where you need to be, why you have to go…sometimes none of that matters.
If only I knew then what I know now…
Jared, I would have sat in the front seat despite my impending car sickness. I would not have asked you to give him a paci and console him. Now I know, you truly couldn’t. I know you wanted to, I know you wanted anything to make him just stop, but I didn’t know that then.
If I could not sit in the back or for whatever reason simply could not handle the situation driving down the road, I would have stopped. Who cares that we might have been late. Who cares that we might not even have made it to our destination. I know that your frustration and anxiety was entirely too intense and you deserved more than my (or whoever else was in the car) need to complete the task of the moment.
Stopping would have given us a better chance to console D and to give you a chance for some fresh air and a way to relieve some of your anxiety. I realize, now, that you had complete sensory overload. Just like, I realize now, D has complete sensory overload.
It is not a matter of being a complete and total spoiled brat. It’s a matter of having difficulty being able to process the sensory input, therefore causing intense anxiety. I realize that now, I wish I had realized it then.
My dear Jared, You have grown up to be a fine young man. You have fought in two wars, you have gone above and beyond in your short life to protect our country. You have gone above and beyond to protect that same little boy that used to (and still does) drive you bonkers at times. You also seem to understand D in ways that only you could, while also not understanding him any more than the rest of us. Jared, I am sorry that I was not able to understand your anxiety and frustration. I wish I could go back and make it easier for you, rather than making it more frustrating because I was frustrated with you. I pray that, with the knowledge I have now, I am at least making it somewhat easier for D. I love you, Jared. Thank you for teaching me, even when we didn’t know you were.