31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's a list, graciously provided by one of my sons today, of things I need to keep in mind. I think I'll post it on my fridge or my mirror, or better yet, my computer welcome screen, to help encourage me when I'm feeling down this coming year:


I am a bitch.
I am a jerk.
I hate my son.
I am mean to my son, and don't listen to his advice.
I need to shut up.
He will destroy the house because I have been so awful.
I need to go away.
I am fat.
No one loves me.
No one even likes me, I'm such a bitch.
No one wants me around.
Why am I still here? Didn't he just order me to go into the kitchen?


I got to hear all this (many times) while he was destroying some of my stuff, throwing things and slamming things. And why? I was in the process of making spaghetti for dinner and did not consult him as to what he would like to eat. Meanwhile I had other children downstairs crying for dinner and another teen watching them and hoping we don't have to call the police just as the garlic bread comes out of the oven. I mean, we wouldn't want our dinner to get cold again and everything.

Dang.


For those of you self-righteously opining that you would "never put up with" that sort of crap, I wish you just had to deal with a tenth of it so that you could see what it's like, cumulatively, from the time this child was an INFANT. I wish you could see what dealing with a child with genuine mental issues is really like. He started out with difficulties... there is only so badly you can mess a kid up by feeding him his Gerber Green Beans instead of Gerber Carrots, or making the kid wear his CAR jammies instead of the BEARS. People who like to chastise me for my crummy parenting have no idea how long "all this" has been going on, and the extreme lengths we have been going through to try to stop it.


And guess what?


We can't just get rid of our family members when they are inconvenient or disrespectful. YES, we tried raising the kid to get a consequence when he was naughty throughout his childhood. This is soooo far beyond that that any advice like that... sigh. Even advice like that is hurtful. It presupposes that DUH we have no stinkin' clue that this is behaviour that is undesirable to live with and/or ought be curbed... or that we are too busy getting drunk or high to notice that maybe this isn't acceptable.

And ya know... it would be understandable if one of us parents started up a habit like that. We've been actively asking for help since the child could toddle and bang his head bloody. (He still does that, you know.) We haven't really gotten very far. Think the average parent would get sick-n-tired, maybe discouraged even, after about a DECADE AND A HALF of this stuff? Hm?


So, dear neighbour/ stranger around town, if you think you know it all and this would never happen to you, I'd like to see you try going through what we have. Or just pick it up from this week if you're so strong. Try calling the mental hospital and hear about how they don't deal with autism and/or your insurance, tough crap, goodbye. Or YES! They do, but what you've been through, since it's become the norm, isn't a good enough criteria for admission. The wooden baseball bat he threw? Well, that was just an accident. Oopsie.


"You just shut up. You are a bitch. Why don't you just go away? Nobody likes you." You start to hear that wherever you turn for help. It's sure convenient to blame the parents, folks... and insinuate that Mom just messed the kid up. It makes you feel better that this will never happen to you because YOU have done things "right." It's part of the social contract, or the Old Testament, or something. God rewards "good" people with well-behaved children, because the "good" people magically trained their kids right.

Or, oh! My favourite lame-o excuse for personhood (I won't mention names) once quipped that of course God wouldn't test him that way, because he couldn't handle it. God should test me instead because I'm such a strong and Godly person. Pat, pat, pat... now go off somewhere else. Wow, with friends like that at church to pray for me, I feel validated! I'm gonna be sure to show up every week for this treatment.

Maybe I just read too much into a simple "no, sorry, we can't help you" from professionals or "sorry, I have NO idea how to pray about that" from church acquaintances now. Maybe I am overly sensitive; however, it's rather hard to deal with extreme situations like this not only alone, but while enduring the scorn and disdain of the community around you.

Ohhh... and she went on to have more kids? Mm-hmm... another son is THREE and doesn't even talk. Cluck-cluck. Tsk tsk.

See, though, Mrs. C is a Christian and God commands me to forgive you. Thankfully He doesn't call me to like you, or to not pray for God to pimp-smack you into the next century and humble you a bit. (Because I'm praying that for your own good.) And He doesn't call for me not to get annoyed when my fellow Christians say I'm supposed to be all loving to people who are rotten to me. It makes for a great sermon even if it is impractical.

You know what? I have a hard enough time loving my family when they're rotten. No offense, but I JUST do not have the energy to be all loving to stupid people outside the family who are also rotten. I'm figuring that if I'm going to be nasty to someone, I might as well be that way to people I don't have to live with. That's why I'm posting to the blog instead of yelling in the living room. :)

But maybe the "love is patient, love is kind" thing only goes so far. YOU try being "patient and kind" when it happens day after day over stupid things. And you've lost sleep. And you wake up angry or crying, and it takes you a minute to figure out why as you shake the clouds out of your head. And you keep having to get root canals... wonder why you grind your teeth so hard they break in two...?

But no, it must be all my fault. I must enjoy that sort of lifestyle somehow. (Root canals are fun!) I read in a parenting magazine once about moms who secretly enjoy "drama," 'specially around the holidays. The answer is to be more pleasant to the kiddos and let little things slide. One recent day at the Mrs. C house, there was much screaming and throwing of dishes because I said "please" too many times in my requests. I only wish I were kidding... can you imagine having a temper that awful... getting mad because someone nearby is too nice?

Maybe there has to be some other way, something we haven't tried yet, that isn't in the parenting mags, the doctors' offices or a pill bottle... but God hasn't shown it to me yet. God is about all that is left.


I do know my other children are growing up scared. I do know I am scared. I am reaching out for help and not finding much of it. I do know that going through all this has taught me to be far less judgmental of other families who couldn't make things better for their kid, or whose kid has done wrong. Yes, we've done allergy testing. Yes, we've done drugs. Yes, we've altered diets. Yes, we're continuing therapy. No, we're not willing to do hyperbaric chambers, leeches, bungee jumping and/or chelation therapy. Yet.


Truly, there is only so much you can do. One day, your child must make his own decisions as to whom he will serve. It is beyond humbling. It is humiliating, sad, frightening and a test of any shred of faith one might have left.


It's a new year. I can always hope that the next year, the next pill, the next therapy, the next technique might bring some relief. I cannot imagine that my son is having a rockin' good time feeling this way, either.


But how sorrowful to know that this, the child you have raised... well... you have done the best you can for him and you are still not sure what will become of him or the rest of your family. I am not sure of what to think of faith, hope and love... knowing the greatest of these is love. I am not sure what to think of people who think that "love" is putting up with someone who had a grumpy morning and forgot to say "I love you." Maybe what I live isn't real life, and that's a genuine struggle for other people. Other people have it easy.

Love is really, really hard to live out. Love is no cuddle-bug. Love is dang mean-looking sometimes, and it doesn't come with a bow. Love is hanging on when the person you care for hates you, and the world hates you for not doing a better job after you have done all you could.

Love is forgiving. Love is getting up tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day... and dealing with things again. Love probably also means I'll delete this post in a week, but here it is for now. Thanks for listening if you got this far.

23 comments:

  1. I love you, Christine. Your honesty and pain are hard to read, I will admit. I have no explanations, no comforting words. But I do love you and will continue to pray for you and your family, especially for your safety.

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  2. I love you too Christine! I think of you all the time and pray for you constantly--every time I think of you. I wish I had words or actions that could make it all instantly better for you and the family. Your faith, determination, perseverance, and kindness amaze me. My prayer for you tonight is that you will only listen to truth that you find in God and in Scripture--you are loved. You are valued. You are doing the hardest job of any on the earth--and I, for one--think you are doing excellently at it. You are being lifted up sister! Praying that there is a miracle for you (or 10 or 20) in 2010.

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  3. I read the whole post twice and I don't know that anything I could ever say would make you feel any better. I can give you a cyber hug though. When I talk to my friend who works with autistic children I talk about you, as my friend in a America, I often talk with her about stuff that you have written. I hope writing this out got all the words out of your head and made your heart a little bit lighter. xox

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  4. Nothing I can say will make it better, I can't pretend to understand. But know that you have an ear - shoulder in me. HUGS !!!

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  5. The only a mean, fat, bitch around is whatever sickness is behind that kind of hateful anger. I have that kind of fella in my family, and, well, I get the "all this." I don't need to imagine that kind of temper because I've seen it. It is scary and insane and friends think I'm guilty of serious embellishing when I try to describe it.

    I guess sisters secretly enjoy drama around the holidays, too.

    I don't have any explanations or answers, but I'll keep you and your family in my prayers :)

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  6. Please don't delete. People need to be able to read this. Our family is fortunate that we were able to find a med that works for my son. My oldest daughter, however, we are still working on.

    I have a lawyer/professor type too.

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  7. Thanks for posting this. It is encouraging, believe it or not, to know other people go through this too. My eldest is officially bipolar, dx at age 5 but I'm not sure that's accurate. I guess it's as good a dx as any. We have these moments.

    People don't understand why I let him climb a tree when all the other kids are learning to toss a football (homeschool coop). People don't understand why he gets his own room while the three brothers have to share (uh, they don't WANT to share with him!).

    Anyway, I totally get you. And the mouth - the MOUTH! Sometimes I wish for that magic power from the Twilight Zone movie - remember when he disappeared his sister's mouth? Oh, that's not a very motherly thought, is it.

    Mother Teresa's book No Greater Love helped me a lot. "The success of love is in the loving
    - it is not in the result of loving.
    Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person,
    but whether it turns out that way or not
    does not determine the value
    of what we have done"

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  8. I know you know I do get this; all of it: the mouth, the violence, the other kids living in fear. It was a relief when he left & all that stopped & we could learn about *normal* as a family.

    In my eyes you are beautiful & brave & wise because you are continuing to love through all this; imperfectly but still...& we only get one chance at trying to make a difference. I pray that your strength & courage do not falter even if it gets a little wonky sometimes & send some cyber hugs because I can't give you real ones. ♥♥♥

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  9. Hugs, Christine, I just popped an email off to you asking how you were and now I know.

    I can relate to some of what you have written and I am not being flippant when I say I feel for you. It seems a lonely and empty path we travel on sometimes.

    You know what our answer is, one that while it brought relief, also brought a whole new set of pain. The other one was medication and for us it worked. I just think I would have jumped off the nearest bridge if it hadn't.

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  10. May I add:

    You are not a bitch
    You are not a jerk
    You love your son
    You are not mean to your son
    You do not need to shut up
    He has no right to destroy the house because he thinks you are being awful
    You do not need to go away
    You are not fat
    You are loved
    You are more than liked, you are not a bitch.
    People DO want you around
    I am glad you are still here.

    I wish I lived closer.

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  11. I really, really liked what Nikki said.

    Teenagers under ordinary circumstances, are challenging, difficult creatures. They are capable of saying and doing horrible things (My oldest told me off a few months ago in terms that very nearly earned him a one way ticket out of the house. And he faces none of the challenges your sons or even my own second borne face. Fortunately, his father spelled out his precarious situation very clearly and he's been a different kid since).

    But you are in an extraordinary situation. Adolescence unleashed, in extreme, as it were. He is out of control, testosterone in orbit, and probably knows it and probably has no idea how to stop himself in the middle of these melt downs. He needs a neutral corner and so do you and so does the rest of the family.

    I sure wish I could help with this some how. Prayer seems inadequate, but that's what I can give you from here. I can reassure you that you and the rest of the family have a right to feel safe and loved under your own roof and whatever solution you arrive at to attain that will have my support.

    Take Christine.

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  12. Sweetie, I'm so sorry. I haven't been a reader for very long, and I don't have anything to offer except a willingness to listen.

    You are not a jerk, and you love your children.

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  13. That umm . . . was supposed to be "take care . . ." Please do take care of yourself.

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  14. Oh honey. I have no idea what to say because nothing I say can make it better or easier for you.

    But I hear you. And I'm here, reading still.

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  15. I want to thank you for posting this. I can relate to so much of what you said. I am not to the teen years yet, but I am sad to say I think our teen years will sound about the same.

    My four year old has some issues (SPD and likely bi-polar) that contribute to behaviors that are extreme for his age. I am just posting to say thanks and you are not alone.

    When everyone in my RL world is judging me too harshly, I come to the web for supportive communication. I have a few places where I can find the support I need.
    God bless you.

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  16. What can I say to help? NOTHING. Just you know.. I think you are the MOST FANTASTIC MUM in the whole wide world, you love all your kids and care for them the very best you can.
    Your 'young person' will continue to test you in every way he can.. you can be sure of that... hormones coming into play as well as his other 'issues' will test you even more.
    I hope that you can get help in some form EVENTUALLY to help you cope with him , and help him to grow into a caring, loving son.
    Being able to rant and rave on your blog is GOOD for you... helps to get the feelings out. KEEP IT UP.

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  17. Mrs. C,
    I read this twice and my heart is just breaking for you. You are such a wonderful mom and I am so sorry that your family is going through this. I don't have any answers but I do want to send you a huge cyberhug. ((((Mrs. C))))
    I pray for you every day. The unconditional love, patience, and forgiveness you show your children is such an awesome testimony to the world. I wish I lived closer so I could offer some real help.
    I will keep praying! Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
    Bronwyn

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  18. This may sound stupid and trivial, but thank you for this post. I learned from it.

    I admire your strength.

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  19. I am sorry. We rang in the New Year in similar ways... only the police were here twice. Marissa will be going to court for an alcohol and tobacco ticket.

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  20. We had a very bad New Year at our house too. Not like yours, exactly... well... more similar than I would like to admit.

    Yeah. Ugh.

    In other news, Brittany was up all last night throwing up... and I'm afeared I'm getting the bug too.

    Good times.

    May we have the grace we need to continue to live the lives we have.

    ~Luke

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  21. Sorry I haven't been on here lately. I'm praying for you and your son! Wisdom, unconditional love, hope, freedom, silencing of bad advice/remarks, release, and His presence!

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  22. WOW!
    I'm standing up applauding you with tears literally streaming down my face.
    I am raising 3 children with autism myself and I sadly could relate to SO much of that post.
    And I too am a Christian and find that comments like "God will never give you more than you can handle" not only scripturally incorrect and out of context but hurtful, dismissive and useless.
    I always retort with : The bible *actually* says God will not allow you to be "tempted" beyond what you can handle and even then - he provides a way out.
    If He never gave us more than we could handle, we would have no need for him and wouldn't turn to him in crises.
    Your testimony is inspiring and your honesty has touched me deeply.
    Blessings Fi :D

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  23. Bored and perusing old posts.

    You are my hero.

    Love you.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)