First and foremost, you have to know that I love all 3 of my sons with all of my heart. That is a baseline. That is the truth. That will NEVER, EVER, EVER change! Ever!
Second, I will always want what is best for my boys.
Third, to live life as conflicted as I feel can make a very sane person totally crazy.
Matthew comes home tomorrow and I feel like I am being sent back into war. When he is in a respite program, it takes the little boys and I time to first deal with the anxiety and stress we have been living with and to come back to a place where the stress is at a survivable level. Then we have some time to enjoy our new found level of calmer reality, and now we are back to a place where we know Matthew is returning and my anxiety is back to increasing.
We had a fabulous day today. I went with 5 other friends and their children to a fabulous kid centered play area. It was the perfect vacation day! Fun, playing, laughing children. Moms hanging out......kids laughing......totally the type of day I dreamt of when I became a mom.
Tomorrow at 11:30 we go to pick up Matthew and when I think about it my anxiety already sky rockets. We will hopefully pick him up and he will be in a good place emotionally and I will be the best parent I can be.
I have promised myself to limit how often I say "no". I am going to work to be more creative with my negative responses:
If he asks, "can I have a cookie?" I will answer "yes, at 3:00 for now would you like fruit?"
If he asks, "can I watch tv?", I will answer, "yes, in an hour, for now would you like to play a game?"
If he is stressing out Jacob, I will say, "can you and I look for something to do on the computer?"
The word "No" seems to be a trigger for him, so I am going to work hard to cut down on how often I trigger him.
However, no matter how hard I am trying today to stay focused on all that I can do to keep life calm here, I know that this is not about me. This is about my son who has limited cognitive abilities, and is affected emotionally by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He is unable to control his emotional responses to the world around him. He is affected by a mood disorder that makes it hard for him to respond rationally to the daily activities of life. I cannot always say "yes", even if I wanted to.
I am supposed to be working to put together a "safe box" with Jacob and David so that they have items they can use if Matthew gets upset while they are in my room. I am screaming inside- I don't want to create a safe box. I don't want to teach Jacob to call 911. I don't want any of this!
I want life to continue as it is right now. When there is quiet in my house. When I feel like we have friends who we can hang out with and it is easy. I want to be a regular family! I want to visit my son as often as I wish. I want to play an active role in his life, but I want it to be a positive role. I don't want to call the police, and to be scared and to go back to living life full of anxiety. No one would rationally choose to live life full of stress. That would be a ridiculous choice.
I have made some progress over these 3 weeks while Matthew was at Healy House.
1. I have rejuvenated my spirit.
2. I have talked to many people who are looking for ways that they can help my family
3. I have been able to have a respite person hired for Monday afternoons who will give the little boys a break after the long weekend.
4. I have set up a new behavior plan for Matthew for home that mimics the plan used at school.
However, 3 weeks goes quickly, especially when I am working and trying to save my sanity and still am responsible for monitoring the big picture of Matthew's life. For example, yesterday I went to see him and he has developed a hand tremor. It is not like I could just say, "well he is at Healy house now, they will deal with it". He is my son. It was my heart that hurt to see his hand tremor. It was me who called the doctor and it will be me who has to decide whether it is better to have a hand tremor on a medication that is helping or better to stop the medication and stop the hand tremor.
I have spoken to him daily multiple times while he has been at Healy House. I have cheered for him when he has made good choices and reminded him to make better choices when he has made errors. I have still been his parent. I have likely been even more involved than a parent of a child who is at sleep away camp. All the while, I have also parented 2 other children who were showing signs of anxiety and stress given our life before Matthew went into Healy House.
I am truly a person in conflict. I want to tuck my 3 children into their beds. I want to snuggle all three of them on the couch. Hell, I even want to hear the regular sounds of 3 siblings fighting and struggling and then finding solutions. I just am not ready for the big problems, or the stress of life that we were living with a month ago. I don't want to go back into battle. I am still tired from fighting the war.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!