There is a large answer that is not real tangible. More esoteric in nature. Philosophical, maybe. It's one I'm keenly aware, is only available, through our gift of time. Mired in the deep thick brush with no machete was/is intense. For so long, I felt so deep into the acute critical nature of parenting was simply the same skills necessary keeping us afloat, and not drowning. Now, we can both swim. And we've got tools, supplies, float gear, and some water toys to enjoy this river together. There are rough patches of some class rapids. Yet, time has allowed me to scout these waters. Very little is new. We have significant traumaversary times here- but--- we've been here before. I'm prepared. And have some insight into how this is going to play out. We are able to work through the tough stuff as a team (most of the time). Momma is learning to take the lead. Momma is learning to leave behind the stuff that doesn't work. (Lawdy Lawdy. Can you imagine the chaos and server crashes all over the world had she asked "what is NOT working?") Momma is learning to be a parent. Momma is learning how to really give her child what he needs.
For some other concrete, more tangible examples....
I read back through some very old posts and found one from about 18 months ago. Those words still are true....
- 1- Being outside helps us. Setting boundaries and staying respectful of them helps. Learning the best way to eat, helps. Laughing helps. Not teaching too many lessons in a day helps. Learning new words each day helps. Regular sleeping patterns help. Saying things I want him to know helps. Praying helps. Holding hands helps. Not freaking out when he poops in the tub (or insert any number of messy catastrophe's) helps. Getting breaks, helps. Getting help, helps. Doing things together helps. Learning to play on his own helps. Having hope, helps.
- 2- Ditched Facetimesuckholebook for a while. It may have been the smartest move ever. It may have sucked me back into it's inescapable gravitational hold. Time will tell. But for Lent- leaving it behind proved to be a really good thing for our family. Then again, my support system is partially built into that over powering server. There is good work going on in that space. Some really really really good work. I'm a good works person. Yet... that's been missing for some time and I've only been able to be a voyeur. perhaps... someday... I pick up that piece of me again. And THAT will definitely be something that is working for us!
- 3- Dressing him: Ya. I know what the books say. "Give them choices over stuff that doesn't matter" blah blah blah. Mostly, that works for us, just not in certain seasons. Right now? Long story short: It ends up in me losing my shit and reinforcing his shameful depraved view of himself, therefor eliminating whatever the reason was to give him 'choices' to begin with. Sometimes, folks- kids (and their parents) got a lot going on and just can't handle the choices. It really can be too hard. On days he wants/needs to make the choice- fine. "Yay for using your voice! OK. Go get that shirt." He does. And he returns happy and proud of his accomplishment.
- 4- Hair. It was a security trigger for him somehow. We needed to find a way to support what he was comfortable with and also make it maintainable. I think I've done that. I think? Long story short: He likes his curls "HUGE"(his word). I like it not matting and not having to spend 6 hours de-tangling and shedding every week. So we "stretch" it at night (big rope twists) with sleeping cap. Take the out in the morning. 10 minutes at night. 10 min in am. Both happy and almost to school on time.
- 5- Letting "it" go. Again- This sounds so esoteric or intangible. For me. It's like cutting off an arm.... and it feels good. Family. They can support you, raise you up be your breath when you are drowning. And they can crush you, smother you, manipulate and condescend. I have both of that going on right in my immediate family. I'm learning, rather than 'lean' on those who are raising me up, to reach higher because of them. I'm learning to offer mercy and seek peace in my heart, rather than reacting to judgment and condescension by justifying my actions. (some of what is written here is a 'work in progress'... I'll let you guess which part.)