Sunday, February 28, 2010

On parenting a very special child

Like they say "small children, small problems. Big children, big problems."

It is so hard to parent well, isn't it. Hard to parent the way we set out to do. You can't just turn a blind eye, you have to meet all the challenges head-on. I don't have "big problems" with this particular child (or any of my children, thank Gd), but the kid is acting out feelings, and that acting out forces me to hear the feelings, no matter how gut wrenching it may be-- for both of us. I have to hear that I have caused pain in my child's life. I have to hear that I could have done better.

I just listened. I listened to the sobs, the sentences that were broken up by a heaving chest. I lied down on the bed where we were talking; sitting was too painful physically for me. I kept listening, and my once-baby kept talking. I am always astonished whenever this kid needs to talk, that the words that are chosen are exactly from the heart. I make sure it is clear to my child that I know the words are from the heart, and all that is ever needed in life is to follow your heart.

But it is hard to hear the pain from your child's heart. Hard to hear that, at the time, the feeling which is having words put to it is assigned the word "unloved". How did it get to that? How can my child believe, at that moment, or ever, that my love wavers? The inappropriate behavior is the way this kid can express frustration. Frustration with... me. I'm doing something wrong. But I work so hard to do it right.

Someone recently told me that his own perception of the dynamics in my family is that the kids miss me. They need more from me.

Then in steps my own frustration, and even despair. You guys who have been reading these chronicles for so many months-- years-- know about that despair I harbor. Maybe I had it before I got sick, too, but I had strength to get through it. I have the strength now, too, and I certainly use it.

But now I am worn out. That is the element that wasn't in the picture when I was 38, and wanting another baby. My heart and my body wanted it. Now, after 2+1/2 years of going through the physical and emotional meat grinder, I am just so worn out. And so is my husband. We are worn out together, with somewhat different lists of explanations.

I go through the moves. I try my best, and I get a helluva lot accomplished when you look at where I've been. But, according to my very beloved child, I missed somehow communicating that.

Going through the moves doesn't cut it anymore. My kids are getting older, and they need all of me. I wish I could get those pieces back that were cut away from me so many times recently. Maybe if I get back the time in the coma, get back my thigh skin and the piece of muscle, return the graft skin to the other thigh where it came from, get back the synovium taken out 5 months ago, and maybe even my dumb appendix, maybe then I could give the emotional all of me to my kids. I'd probably be less worn out. But I have this scenario. That is the Master Plan.

And my children need me, and I have to rise to the occasion. I hope that I did that today with this particular kid. We had a heart-to-heart. Well, actually, one heart spoke, and the other listened. I couldn't really figure out anything wise to say. Afterward, though, everything seemed back in focus, and my dear kid felt OK enough to go be at a slumber party. Success? I pray so.

And I pray for strength, and staying power.

1 comment :

  1. 1. Let's remember that even parents with NO health problems fail some of the time

    2. Focus on the successes

    3. Learn from your mistakes... next time you'll do better

    4. And pat yourself on the back when you do do it right!!

    5. Know that you will fail again. And forgive yourself. You are doing the best you can.