Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The thoughts which would make me a bad party guest

I have to laugh through the trauma behaviors. Have to. Yet, I have moments when it really eats at my gut. I had one of those moments yesterday.

I was mowing. Today, one of my healing kids is celebrating their birthday. So, I was thinking about them and reflecting on their life (the parts I know intimately, and the parts I'll never know). Of course, I then started to think about their future. I would say I was "dreaming" about their future ... but here is where I become a Debbie Downer.

My child is attaching to me. They are experiencing healing. I have seen amazing things with them, because they have chosen to do the work.

Yet, we think and plan realistically for their future. These thoughts are ... well, I told you ... would get me kicked out of a party! Yet, they are the kinds of things we have to think and we have to face. Just saying it out loud. Helping some of you to not feel alone, and giving the rest of you a deep look into the dark corners of our hearts ... those of us parenting kids from the hard places.

What will puberty do to my child? Will they be strong enough to sustain all of the "normal" changes which can send a healing child into a nose-dive? When we romanticize being grandparents, we often wonder if we'll be parenting grandchildren. We know their desire for control (based on fear) could easily carry into relationships and sex. What about problems with authority (and people who will not understand, much less meet them where they are)? Will they ever keep a job for an extended period? How much will we help, and what will it feel like if we truly have to just let go and allow them to fall on her own, by her own choice.

Will we have guilt for not doing more for our kids?

I could go on (and on and on and on). It doesn't take away from the positive or the hope and it certainly can never change the good - the amazing good which manifests in our amazing, strong kids. I'm just writing it because I think it. We all do. It is a part of being realistic and preparing for multiple scenarios.

I also wanted to share it for those of you who love and care about a parent like me. I want you to realize how, even on the best of days, these thoughts never leave the back of our minds - ever. They keep us up some nights. They are a very bizarre part of our thought process. This is why sometimes we joke and sometimes we have verbal diarrhea about our child's issues. This is why we sometimes get extremely defensive. This is why we sometimes disassociate, because we just need a break from the thoughts and unanswered questions.

I do not worry about the future of my children. I don't. Worry does not change today, and my responsibility to provide a place of healing for them.


Yet, I think about it. I think about it all the time. I plan in areas where I can. I brainstorm in areas where I'm left scratching my head. I cry sometimes. I can't change the future. I can't be the conscience for them. I can't make their good choices. With all I CAN do for them, there are still so very many things I cannot do, and over which I have no control.

So, I think some more and get it out of my system for the day (or hour). I find myself being extremely thankful my children are all with me - I am their mom. I am blessed. The unknown is what it is.

Now, go surprise one of these parents in your life with their favorite latte. Who knows what sort of thoughts tucked them in last night.


Brenda said...

((((hugs))) When I do that I call it having a case of the "what ifs?" They are always there. One day at a time, my friend. We have the strength we need for today.

jana said...

I can't begin to say I understand. But what I do know is that with all that faces Mar in her life what a great set of parents she has. God has given her the "best case" to start the rest of her life with. What a blessing for her...

BT said...

This is a wonderful post -- thank you. You have captured what I think we all do in our minds. There are definitely scary versions of our kids' futures, which is a frightening reminder of the importance of the work we and our kids are doing.

I also wonder what puberty is going to do with/to the healing process.

One big uncertainty after another. Maybe this is how scary it feels to have RAD?

mke90 said...

My son is mildly autistic and totally ADHD. I try to never think more than a few months into the future. Every time I let myself start thinking about further, I've gotten short of breath and panicky. There is only so much that I can do to help him so mostly I just trust that God will be with him no matter what. I do what I can to set him up for success and then hand it over to God. Then I read blogs and get some much needed levity and perspective!

Shan said...

Very well expressed as usual Christine! Yes, oh yes. These are the thoughts many of us have exactly for our young challengers. I appreciate that you see the whole picture and do your very best to help the healing process along for your kids. There is definitely a group of us who understands entirely and we need to remember that for the "what ifs" that DO come in the future. xo

familygregg said...

Possibly your best post ever. Just had this very conversation w/a reader. The what ifs??????????

sandwichinwi said...

Hugs. I think this things about my not-RAD-but-very-angry little person.

And congratulations on the wonderful progress both Mar and Rocky have made. You are an awesome mama and I know God will lead you through the next step in this adventure.

Now for the selfish request part. Can you do a post on where-the-heck even to start with a kid who needs healing? What's the very first thing to do?


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this brought tears to my eyes. I don't have a child with RAD, but with developmental issues through no fault of his own, and I have these same thoughts and worries even though I'm constantly saying "he's fine, he's fine."

You are amazing and that's why I like reading you. Keep being a great mom!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I read what you've posted, and I think, how did she know what I've been thinking about?

Yes, I think about their futures all the time. Will he end up in prison? Will he be able to live successfully in society? Will she ever connect with anyone? Will I end up raising her children? Will she live alone with a houseful of cats? With what will she fill that emptiness?

What can I do? How can I head them off at the pass? How can I make a difference in their lives? CAN I make a difference in their lives?

Miss & love you, Me

Elizabeth said...

The future is still a fear I think all parents have (regardless of RAD or other issues). No matter what we do, our kids at some point will make their own decisions - good or bad. All we can do is continue to pray without ceasing like Scripture says. Well, that and plan for the future the best we can, knowing God is ultimately in control.

Bill and Ronni Hall said...

Hi Christine,
Very well said. We need to be concerned about our RADish's future, and still take time to feed our passions. Ours is 15, and she should be social at this stage with other kids her age, but then that opens a whole new can of worms.

Kerrie said...

Oh, again, thank you. Very timely. I just said to my husband two days ago, "do you think it's wrong that my highest hopes for her are holding down a job and not getting pregnant before she can be a good/stable mother?" Letting go of the responsibility and control I don't have over her is the hardest thing for me about this.

Babs said...

You know, Christine, often times I wonder (after reading your posts) if I have RAD kids.
I know that I don't but we share the same concerns. I think that is important to remember too...I know (and am not at all meaning to minimize) that A LOT of what you share is directly related to RAD...but quite a few things just strum the parent heart strings too...which could mean that it's NORMAL (whatever that is big smile)
I share so many of these same thoughts at times and the closest I am in relation to your family is that we are blended through marriage and i THINK I have a daughter with aspberger's...no diagnosis (yet)
But so many of the things you share are things I have wondered and contemplated about my own children.

I think this is a GOOD thing...it is obviously validation that you are on the right path :)

Diana said...

Once again, you spoke my heart.

Our kids are in public school (which is proving to be very good for them - at least for now.) One big downside to it is that every year at this time I do have to "educate the educators" about RAD and PTSD and OCD and FASD and all those other wonderful alphabet soup diagnoses that follow my kids. When it's all said and done, I find myself basically having to write an "owner's manual" for both my boys so their teachers will have some clue as to how to deal with them without making things worse. Yet what I share with them (which is a LOT) is only the stuff on the surface. It doesn't even begin to cover a fraction of what we really live with on a daily basis.

It is so overwhelming. It's overwhelming to look at all that stuff at once. It's frightening to look at where this all may very well end up. It makes me want to scream and cry and deck the daylights out of people...and sometimes out of my kids (don't worry - I don't!) But, the desire is there at times and when it is, I tell my kids it is and then we sit in the chair and rock until it goes away.

(((hugs!))) I so wish they could be in person! But, like we do every day with our kids, I'm choosing to count my blessings that at least I can swap stories and share online hugs with others on the journey - that's something that moms even 10 years or so ago really couldn't do real easily.

denie heppner said...

dear christine. i just love your posts, and you, so much. if it's any consolation, i have raised 4 perfectly normal (as in without RAD or other special needs) already and i had all the same issues and thoughts and "what if's"...and in a couple of them, my worst fears- and even beyond what i could have imagine would happen to them- came to pass. twice. yup...twice.

and you know what...we all survived. they are all adults now, and learning to live with their choices. now we have adopted a little one, and we are pushing 60, and the WHAT IF'S are really huge... but i am thankful that even if the worst - and even worse than i can imagine- happens (we die young leaving her alone, the rest of the family doesn't want her, she can't deal with her interracial adoption issues BLAH BLAH BLAH) i know from experience that god will be there. jehovah shammah. he has been/is/will be ...THERE.

blessings and prayers.

Sean's Ladies said...

sad. crying sad. think about it all the time. but not ready to accept the possibility of it.

Mom 4 Kids said...

I so get this post and appreciated it, the way you were able to verbalize it.

We have recently had birth mother issues surface. I realized how much I have been able to grow in this process of raising my daughter. I was just happy to be able to tell her it is okay to feel that way, to know she is safe and loved in our home, and to know that whatever will be coming her way and our way as she matures that she has us.

Love your blog, thanks again!

Hannah_Rae said...

We hope for the best, and plan for the worst, and pray all along the way.

Thank you for sharing your heart, and speaking what so many of us are thinking and feeling.



Anonymous said...

I watched The Soloist last night, about a musically gifted, homeless, "schizophrenic" adult, which, for me, was another example of people doing the best they know how and giving it up to God.

Thanks for your inspiration.

Lisa said...

I wonder and wonder and wonder and wonder until I have to tell my brain to shut the heck up. I wish it would listen....

Love you

Recovering Noah said...

Love this post, Christine. Love it!

I think you're awesome.

ldw said...

I hear people talk about their kid's futures, ask my kids their plans, etc and all the while I am cringing on the inside thinking, they may not even get to drive until the law says I have no control of that. How can I think about their futures?? I worry but I keep reminding myself that this is God's plan and He is much better at this than I am...

Nikki said...

This is so amazing.

I had a friend recommend that I NOT try and adopt through the foster system, if for no other reason, to insure(ha!) that my kids would grow up to be adults and so that I could have a "normal" retirement. I didn't listen to her.

Thank you for looking at(thinking, praying through, living)the real possibility of being a parent for life and loving your daughter and for being such a stinkin' incredible encouragement to so many.