Tag Archives: Children

Damage Control

A new day, a new month.

Last month saw loss. Grief. Instability and anger.

My son has been going through the stages of grief at rapid pace, up and down, day to day. Trying to be patient and let him deal with them as they come. This was the worst thing he’s ever had to go through. The first loss. And one so close, one so painful. His grief has been tearing me up because I’m trying to help but there are days I’m not sure if I’m being too easy-going or too tough. I see his dad dealing with it better then he is.

He may be turning 17 in a month, but with his Aspergers he isn’t always able to deal with his emotions the same way someone without it might. Not to mention that he’s also hypersensitive. Something he comes by naturally courtesy of his mother.

I know he fell short with his classes and his finals the last four weeks. I expected nothing more. His father didn’t either. Which makes it complicated because we know that some of his grades are probably not going to be as good as we had hoped, and the two classes he was suffering with the most may possibly result in failing grades(one class it’s been discussed already with the teacher that if it happens he’ll retake it next year). How are you supposed to approach a situation like this when the child’s experienced a hellacious loss within weeks of finals, when they already deal with depression?

I’ll tell you.

You cut them a break. You have to. For their own emotional health and growth and for your own.

Sometimes coming down hard & giving them consequences during really hard times does nothing but compound a situation and possibly propels the child into further depression/anxiety/doubt about their ability and self-worth.

Being a teenager sucks. Add divorce, alienation by peers, bullying, loss, grief, self-doubt, and the never-ending stream of impossibilities set upon the teens of today by the media blasts(social in specific) and it’s complex to try to raise a well-rounded teenager without any issues at all. If you have, I congratulate you, you got lucky. Really lucky, because I’ve yet to come across more than a few without the above.

I grew up in the early-mid 80’s. Or rather I was a teen during those times. My parents divorced when I was 11, my Junior High & HS years were awful off and on. However I found my way, I had my books. I had my writing. I had the theater(secret: I was in plays). Sure, I didn’t always like how I looked but I look back on those pictures and laugh now. I appreciate myself as a teenager now as a 40 something more than I could ever before. I didn’t have facebook, twitter and instagram telling me I was ugly or dressed wrong. I was punk rock. In High School my go to by junior year was a leather jacket and ripped stockings, and knee high black boots. I found solace with the other kids who didn’t feel as if they fit in, but at times we didn’t even always fit in with each other. However it worked. And I forgot my pains.

Sometimes I feel it’s kids like my son, those who straddle that in between, of feeling as if they don’t fit in anywhere and wanting to fit in everywhere that have it the worst. I want people to love him the way that I do, who understand him the way that I do. I want him to find his way eventually. Next fall he’s a junior and while he has friends in school and a couple of kids he texts without outside of, I want him to find out who HE is. He has to.

Because he’s worth it. Because he needs to be someone. He already is someone but he has to believe in himself. And for now the only way to help him in this is to let go a little of my expectations and let him develop his own.

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So many words, but also so few

The world has gone mad.

I’ve been in a funk and haven’t written a thing in a month. A THING. In a MONTH. Not here. Nowhere. I barely post to fb or twitter anymore, and tumblr just basically irritates the crap out of me sometimes. Especially lately.

I mean what can I say? I’ve been feeling numb inside. As if everything I could write about is verboten. Which honestly, much of it has been. Much of it has been painful situations loved ones have been going through. Not me. Them. And in some way yes what they’ve been going through affects me, mainly in the way that it hurts me to watch them go through hell, it’s not MY hell. But it’s left me helpless, and numb.

I keep feeling like I have all these words inside a balloon that’s growing bigger and bigger and the balloon is inside of me and it’s making me feel like I’m going to pop any day. Only I’ve been so afraid to put them down.

I’ve seen a family member go through illness and now thankfully recover. Again, not mine to go into detail about.

My son’s paternal grandfather is going through a heavy battle with cancer. One that right now is in a very bad place. I’m still friends with my ex, we chose to be for our son, and also because we never disliked each other in the first place. Just grew apart. I’ve always stayed friends with his parents. His father is one of those men that others would refer to as “the salt of the earth”. He’s a great guy. And he is insanely close with my son, his oldest grandchild. His oldest grandson. Who is named after his father.

When son’s dad told me the news that things were worsening I cried for a couple of hours. Terrified of what would happen if he never recovered. If this was his last Christmas. We’ve chosen not to tell our son most of this. We need to keep him anxiety free as much as possible for now. Son has had his own hard time lately and I can’t, we can’t, compound it.

Last week there was a school meeting that was determining where we would go for services and academics with son, it was an insightful meeting, and afterwards while standing outside ex spoke of his dad. He looked like he was going to crumble to the ground and I just reached out and hugged him. He let me, he thanked me. He needed that from everyone right now.

I left that day feeling happy. I ran my errands. The day was good for the most part.

It was 1pm by the time I arrived home and had a chance to go online for the day.

And then I saw what I had been unaware of for hours. 20 children. Six adults. Dead. Newtown.

I saw my facebook feed and then turned on the news. I sat down and cried. And cried and cried. I didn’t know them or anyone else there. But it tore me to pieces inside. Once I saw the ages it crushed even more. 6. 7. Kindergarten and first grade. That’s what they reported at first.

I have a child that age. I couldn’t, no, I can’t, imagine. I don’t want to.

My first instinct was that I wanted to be with my kids. The school was three blocks from us, I could go get her. But I looked at the clock and saw it was an hour until school was out. And I didn’t want to panic. It wasn’t her. I couldn’t, no shouldn’t, go. I stayed put.

I don’t want to keep going on here. This isn’t my story to tell. And in some ways maybe we all need to stop talking about it unless we experienced it. So many articles have been thrown around, so many posts from everyone offering their feelings and opinions. Which is ok to some extent but some are starting to be positively ridiculous.

I hurt for these babies, for these families and this community as much as everyone else. This reached deep into my core unlike anything else that’s happened in this country the last few years. I don’t think any parent especially will feel safe for a while. We’ll always be looking over our shoulders for something to happen. We’ll be on our toes, trying to keep our kids even closer and safer than they’ve ever been before.

Then one day we’ll loosen up and let our worlds get back to normal. But normal will never happen for those families. I wish I could go there and hug each and every one of them. I really do.

I have other words to write regarding the young man who committed this atrocity, but now is not the time or space.

The only words on that subject I have to write is regarding the earlier reports about him having Aspergers and being reported as “odd”. I felt it was unfair. For a person with Aspergers is not a violent person. I know this as truth. I can’t sit here and speculate what was wrong with that boy, there could have been many different things. Or he was just a cold-blooded killer.

However, when the media started rolling with this as a supposed reason why, my blood boiled. I even took ABC news to task via twitter. Others saw what I wrote and retweeted me a bit. It was simple: This could very well put those with Aspergers in a very bad light. They were doing a very big disservice to children and adults with Aspergers. I have a son who has it, and he’s not a violent person. Granted he has some anxiety/depression issues and there have been some extreme outbursts on an infrequent basis over the years. But they occurred only at times when he was feeling picked upon too much and he felt angry and hopeless. He was always remorseful and he never hurt us. My walls generally took the brunt of it.

I took him into my arms that day when he got home and hugged him so hard he yelped. He knew why. They had heard at school and he looked at me and said that he would/could never hurt anyone. I knew this, he has the biggest heart. He smiles and laughs a lot. While his peers sometimes don’t get him, adults positively love him. He’s a sweetheart who just wants to be loved.

This is what Aspergers is like. I’ve met other kids with Aspergers and most of them are just like my kid.

So it definitely is time that we stop putting a label on people and trying to use that label as a reason why people do things like this.

Instead maybe it’s better if we open our hearts and minds a bit more and maybe reach out to someone we misunderstand. I’m sure they’re just waiting for someone to be there for them.

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