Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Only Way Through is Through....

A friend posted this as her status yesterday:
  • "Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. "  - Pema Chodron

Semi-Feral Mama wrote this (on the surface, the context in which she wrote it has little baring to my relation to it-- but, deeper, exasperated state... it rings true):

In the midst of particularly difficult days, weeks, (ok- months)- these sentiments are so clear in my head. That I can NOT get OUT of it. We MUST GO THROUGH IT. I want a break. My introverted mind needs it. But this little crisis is not about me. He can push me away - harder and harder and harder- each time reinforcing that I need to stay. Be present. Look at his face. Do not escape.

"What's wrong with you?"
Tired. It's just catching up to me. He's had a difficult week (truth is we're going on months- but this was harder than most- poor guy)

"Well, why not just drop him here and go take a nap (or better yet clean your house- it wasn't said but historically implied...) "
Thank you for the offer. As much as I really really want to take you up on it and he is asking for that- I have to decline. I know he needs me to stay with him. Leaving him at all would not be getting us through and I wouldn't get any rest. But thanks.

"Well. You know. You have to consider that most of this stuff is perfectly normal for his age."
No, it.. (kneejerk reaction). Ok. Well thank you anyway. I'll talk to you later. (recover and no energy to justify.... )

Note to all you soon to be parents- it being "perfectly normal for his age" does NOT MAKE IT EASIER PEOPLE! In fact it makes these parenting decisions "how do I best handle this for this child?" more difficult!!

You've heard it time and again- people are just not going to get it.  And they won't.

To those closest to me, the knee jerk reaction is to try and justify it- explain it- what ever. Take it from me. It doesn't matter if it's your best friend or your mother- do not waste your energy attempting to justify why things are tough. They just effing are. And the only way through- is through.  And attempting to educate others- is far to exhausting when you are constantly navigating the parenting learning curve.

Sometimes I suck at this. I mean big time suck. Although, most of the time now, - I just don't know how I'm doing?  I wonder- how do I know if I'm handling it right? How do I know if I'm doing right by him? To this there are no answers. There is no one to bounce this off. Those are the loneliest times. When I sit in church praying to God, because really, there is no one else.

 PS- Just after I posted this I began to wonder- is there a way through this without taking the weight of what he bares. Is there a way to hold their hand through these times, without feeling the pain. Without the images of what they endure, going through your mind? Weighing us down? Heavy on our heart? In a way it seems disingenuous to take on their pain. It was theirs- don't take it way. But then again- we are parents. Do parents not feel the pain of their children? And yet- if I could- go through this- beside him- without carrying the weight- I think I could do better by him- at least in these times of crisis. Maybe? I don't know. What do you think? 

PSS- Is there a way through extended 'crisis' 'traumaversary' without making that the status quo? This i must master....

Today: I am thankful that the snow & ice is gone and buds are beginning to bloom. A new day is on the horizon.


kn said...

I hope you know there are people who do understand, at least in general, although I know what you are talking about. When people ask me 'how's it going?' I have absolutely no idea what to say to them. Nothing makes sense. So with most people I say "he's amazing!" He is doing really well, but this is considering he is one traumatized little guy who has been dropped down into an alien universe.

The pain part? That's a hard one. One thing I've tried to is not focus on the past or even what he is holding right now but on his future (I'm talking Quinn here) That way I can focus on the positive (which I believe his future will be) rather than the negative past. With Belaye it's too early for us to focus on much so I haven't needed to use that yet. I would also ask about looking into whether or not you needing an hour to yourself is actually more important than what he needs at this moment. I'm not sure (I don't have answers so I'm thinking out loud here) if his traumas get to always be center stage. I also don't think if you pull away for a little bit and then come back that that will break his recovery. I understand what you mean that you won't get any rest anyway, but the thing is you need it and when you say that I can tell you are out of practice of putting yourself first for even the shortest time.

I really don't have the answers so this is just me trying to figure it all out for myself too.

findingmagnolia said...

I so hear everything you are saying here. And in regards to taking on your son's pain, I have the same struggle with my daughter's situation, and I think that the key is cultivating empathy without wallowing in the pain, if that makes sense. Understand what he's going through as much as possible, but then use that understanding to be strong as opposed to joining him in weakness. At least, that's what I aim for with my little lady. I'm not always on target, but I just repeat to myself, "Be strong where she is weak." Or sometimes I just say, "Mary, somebody needs to be the grown-up. Who's thirty-five, and who's four?"

And then I cry later, when she's sleeping.

Barbaloot said...

Whew - that sounds sooo familiar. Struggling to cheerfully decline offers to babysit because that is the opposite of what he needs. (Why does no one offer to clean my instead? That would be helpful!)

And the 'perfectly normal for his age' line - excuse me while I step outside and scream. NO, well yeah, but NO. On the surface, if you see it briefly it looks like normal for the age, but if you live with it all day every day, no it's not. The age stuff is part of it, but not the root of it. I get angry about this because I heard it so much and I let it influence me, I listened and didn't get help for my son as quickly as I should have.

I don't have any answers, but it's good to read this and feel less alone with it.

Shannon- said...

Yes ladies I know YOU get it! Thank you!! K- you are right about the sometimes ya gotta put yourself first.I'm usually the one beating that drum... i guess I need to do a better job of doing that when he is NOT in a bit of crisis mode, but when he is- it's all hands on deck- and I'm the only one with hands. gulp. I've got to do better about taking a step back.. then it won't be so easy to get sucked in, maybe?

Claudia said...

Oh shannon, thsi sounds so very very tough! I'm not offering to babysit... just sending you a hug.