Worth the Wait

19 Mar

Why is it so hard to be patient?

What does it really require?  Sitting around, killing time…nothing difficult about that.

And yet I find that some of my most challenging parenting moments come when I’m forced to be patient.  My Sweet Pea is many things, not the least of which is never, ever in a hurry. Girlfriend is slow.  Turtle slow.  Molasses slow.  S-L-O-W.  It seems to be a combination of her perfectionism, her obsessiveness, and her complete inability to sense time.  Add these three together and you’ve got a recipe for slow soup.  And you know what they say, a watched pot never boils.  Ay, there’s the rub.

That soup doesn’t boil until I walk away.  But I can’t walk away or she’ll never turn up the heat and get cooking!  (Okay, enough with this metaphor, I’m getting hungry.)  Do you see what I mean, though?  If I sit back patiently it can take HOURS for her to complete what should be done in mere minutes.  But when I intervene it’s a sure thing that she’ll get frustrated and put on the brakes, slowing us down even more.

We’ve tried all the techniques:  timers, warnings, rewards, punishments.  Nothing works.  She is completely driven by her own internal forces, and until she decides to move, we’re not going anywhere.   And so I wait.  Patiently.

Sitting.

Breathing.

Drumming fingers.

Gritting teeth.

But always, always patient.

 

Until I lose it.

“Get up!” I yell.

“Let’s go!” I scream.

“I can’t wait anymore!’  I shout.

I stomp my feet and make a scene and she looks at me like I’ve lost my mind and says “just a minute” which turns into five which turns into ten which only infuriates me more and I yell again and then finally sit down in a humph and realize

I. Must. Be. Patient.

Sit.

Breathe.

Wait.

Again.

The minutes creep by but eventually we move on.  Always on her time, at her speed.  And then I remember

 

She is worth the wait.

 

Advertisements

To Thine Own Self Be True

12 Mar

Motherhood is all about selflessness.  That’s what we’re taught, right?  It’s about giving yourself up during these tender, precious years of childhood.  It’s about sacrificing our own desires, yielding to self.

But here’s the thing:  in all that selflessness I’m losing myself.  And if I get lost, who will be here to be the mother?

So this morning I’m making a concerted effort to be selfish.  I want a feast, I want a BEAN FEAST, and I’m gonna get it too, because this mama is tired of the back burner.  I’m melting back there…melting into nothing.   And nothing just doesn’t work for me.  At. All.

 

 

 

Time is flying, my love

8 Mar

I sat on the park bench, watching her play.

Climbing, hanging, swinging, perching, exploring, gathering.

What goes through her precious mind when she hangs upside down, wind in her hair?  Does she feel the peace of the warm breeze on her face?  Does she feel free and easy for one simple moment of her otherwise tangled existence?

What is she searching for as she scours the earth for its tiny treasures?  With each shell and rock and leaf that she clutches in her hand, does she feel the everychild joy of collecting?

Or can she only feel the hot sun as an enemy, burning her intentionally, making her miserably hot.  Can she only gather rocks in an attempt to eventually have it “all”?

She fusses and whines and we leave the park.  It’s too hot, mommy.  I’m bored, mommy.

Oh precious child of mine, please breathe peace in the wind.  Find joy in your tiny treasures.  Climb, and hang, and be free.  Time is flying, my love.  Don’t let these last days of childhood pass you by.  You need them; for your soul, for your memory, for your life.

Living in the Wild

7 Mar

I realize that my previous post seems pretty dire and hopeless.  Sadly that’s because I’m living in a dire and hopeless place right now.

Where is your faith, you ask?  Have HOPE, you say.

And I hear you.  But I’m hearing you from the wilderness.  A place of wild.

Have you ever looked up the word “wild” in the dictionary?

Dictionary.com gives us all kinds of descriptions: unrestrained, fury, intensity, violent, furious

Merriam-Webster goes much further:

 a (1) : not subject to restraint or regulation : uncontrolledalso : unruly (2) : emotionally overcome ;also : passionately eager or enthusiastic

b : marked by turbulent agitation

c : going beyond normal or conventional bounds : fantasticalso : sensational

d : indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion

Pick any of those definitions and you’ve got my child, and thus, my life.  Because you know what? Living with the wild means living in the wilderness.

Think about that word, wilderness, and all that it means:  quiet, pathless, directionless, dark, scary, and yes, wild.

I believe that God made the wilderness, and He will see us through it.  But right now, for reasons I can’t begin to understand, He is quiet.  There aren’t miracles, or answers to my prayers for mercy.  There are no maps, no directions, no street lights.  There’s just quiet.  And the teeny-tiniest bit of knowledge rooted in the faith of my childhood that He will eventually get us out of this immensely painful place.  But for the last ten years of her thirteen on this earth, it has been utterly, bitterly quiet.

Perhaps if I was a naturally quiet person that would be an easier pill to swallow.  But those of you who know me personally know that I am ANYTHING but quiet.  Which makes this journey all the more foreign to me.  Silence is deafening, they say.  And it’s true.  It’s been so long I’ve almost forgotten what it would feel like to hear an answer to prayer.

All this to say, please forgive my brutal honesty, my lack of acceptable confessions, and my seeming faithlessness.

I am living with a wild one, in the wilderness.

Failing

6 Mar

I’m failing my child.  My precious child, whose brain is a mess and who needs me to be there for her, hot or cold, day or night, easy or hard.  I’m failing her.

Private school failed her.

Public school failed her.

Two months in residential treatment failed her.

And now I’m failing her.

I brought her home where it was safe, where I was sure she would blossom and mature within the unshakeable walls of our house.  I thought if I tucked her under my wing she could finally relax and face the world again.  I thought I could make it happen with sheer love and determination, if nothing else.

But I’m failing her.

She’s just as miserable now as she’s ever been.  The words she hurls at me are so painful, they blast right through my maternal armor.  Seeing her unwillingness to even TRY to do the right thing is as disheartening a picture as I’ve ever known.  She’s a one-woman army; ready to take down any and all who would so much as suggest that she do things a different way.

Is it possible that I’ll never get to her heart?  That I’ll never win her over to what’s good and true and right?

Is it possible that I’ll have to keep fighting this miserable battle every day?  What if my heart gives out?  I feel it going, with every spiteful word and every oppositional moment.  My heart is growing weaker and my optimism dwindles and I can’t see the light and I’m so very tired.

So, so tired.

This wilderness is dark and painful and just about the time a tiny light sneaks through the trees the shadows overcome it and we’re back in the cold grey where we started; foraging for some kind of nutrition for our hungry souls, hunting desperately for hope, thrashing through the ugly weeds that tie us down.

It’s not for lack of trying.  My god, I’m trying, with every bit of energy I can muster.  I find food, but it doesn’t satisfy.  I kill the weeds, but they grow back twice as thick.  I see a glimmer of hope, but it is dashed in a heartbeat.

Fail.

The L.O.V.E. Academy

15 Jan

2011 was horrible.  I don’t mean bad.  I mean terrible, awful, heinous, ohmygoshIcan’tlivethroughanotheryearlikethis HORRIBLE.  It’s an understatement, really.  There just aren’t words to describe the sheer depth of the pain we endured as a family in 2011.

So it should come as no surprise that 2012 is a year of radical change at our house.  First and foremost, we finally decided to homeschool our Sweet Pea.  After parsing through all of the issues that she faces, and all of her reactions to these issues, we thought it might be worthwhile to remove school itself as a stimulus for her anxiety.   Perhaps without the daily struggle of maneuvering a public school she would relax and be able to enjoy life again.  It was worth a try, anyway.

So?

I’m knocking on wood as I say this, but SO FAR SO GOOD!!  She loves it!  She had literally begged us for years to homeschool her, but that’s not the kind of request one gives into lightly, you know?  Gosh, I wish now I had done this ages ago.  There is a 180 degree change in our daughter.  She is relaxed, happy, and LOVING LEARNING.  Who knew??  I feel like we are finally seeing the bright, inquisitive child that we lost years ago.

Miracle?  Too soon to tell.  But I am praying daily that she continues to thrive here and can finally get back to the task of maturing into a young lady who is ready to conquer the world, rather than be defeated by it.

 

 

 

What if…

20 Sep

The ‘what ifs’ will kill you, won’t they?

Dealing with my daughter who suffers from mental illness, those ‘what ifs’ creep in on a daily, if not hour-by-hour basis.  What if she was easy, taking life as it comes?  What if she was an optimist, instead of seeing the world as wholly against her?  What if she understood that the rules are there to help her, not hurt her.  What if she understood that WE are there to help her, not hurt her?

Since I work with children, I am faced with these ‘what ifs’ at the hospital as well.  A mother told me the other day that her eleven-year-old daughter “is a pleaser, and she only wants to do what’s right, so she won’t tell you if she’s in pain.”  Can you imagine?  I can’t.

Yesterday, though, I was faced with a ‘what if’ that literally sucker punched me right in the gut.  A twelve-year-old boy, who was as yellow as an egg yolk because his liver has failed him.  As I read through the chart my heart dropped further and further into my chest; all the same psychiatric diagnoses as Sweet Pea, and the descriptions of his behavior were uncannily similar to hers.  And the reason for his liver disease?  Unknown toxic injury.  In other words, he was likely poisoned.  Mother in prison; father nowhere to be found; the child now a ward of the state.

And I thought, “what if?”  What if that was my Sweet Pea lying on the table, poisoned; alone in the world and dying.

What if God hadn’t chosen me for this task?

What if I didn’t get to deal with her moods and fits and refusals and insomnia and hatred?

What if I didn’t know her laugh and wit and intellect and love?

What if…