You Are Not Alone

Hello to all of you “different brainers” out there!

Just sending a note to say that if you are raising a child who moves differently through this world or if YOU move differently than most others through this world, you are not alone. I am right here and you are right here and we are together on this journey.

Sending huge love and support to each of you!

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Tangled Again

He’s tangled again. Tangled is when his OCD is off the charts and moving a shirt twelve inches can cause a thirty-minute screamfest. I’ve talked to him this morning about the ways he hurt other people yesterday.

“Do you understand that your words hurt them?” I ask.

Tears. “But I need—”

“I will listen to what you need later. That’s not the question I’m asking you. Do you understand that they were hurt by what you said?”

“I need—”

“I know you are hurting as well. That’s so clear, sweetie. What I need you to know is that the words you used when you had your breakdown yesterday caused hurt feelings. I believe you can learn to use kind words, even when you’re hurting. What do you think?”

“I think I’m going to remove my existence from other people so that my OCD can be happy. I don’t think I’ll be happy, but my OCD will be able to control what I need to be controlled.”

And that’s a snapshot of what it looks like with my son’s self-awareness and my continued need to provide safety for everyone in my life. This journey with these different brains is baffling, difficult, ongoing and . . .

Love to all of us, including the different brainers, on this path.

Freedom in Women’s Black Pantyhose

Michael wanted attention. No, wanted isn’t the right word . . . demanded. Michael demanded attention. He is a performer extraordinaire. Almost always he is talking louder than others, doing things bigger than others, “others” is probably best defined as his little brother, but I want to offer the benefit of the doubt to the wider audience who has been overtaken by the performer, myself included. This night, as Michael is eight years old, Michael did something that made me bend over with laughter, so much so that tears ran down my face. He’s lanky for sure. Slender, chai latte creamy brown colored skin, long brown hair with his brown eyes, he is such an incredibly beautiful child. Some say he looks like me, but I think he looks like him.

The black pantyhose looked different on me than they did on him. I’ve not seen a Cirque du Soleil show as of yet, but I assure you that was what I was picturing as he became this slender, black-limbed tree dancing and singing around the bedroom.

Yes, Michael sported my black pantyhose, pulled all the way up to his armpits. I thought I was going to spew out of my nose from laughing so hard. After he was done performing for the crowd, which consisted of me and his little brother and probably the two cats, he remained in the pantyhose while reading books and lounging in the rocking chair. Oh, the joys of wide-open children and black adult-size medium pantyhose on eight-year-old boys.

Freedom is joyous and hysterical.

(Can’t find a photo anywhere—you’ll have to use your imagination.)

 

 

“Heaven’s Very Special Child”—A Poem

Someone dear to me gave me this poem. I had tears in my eyes before I got to the end. I wanted to share. I offer this with full respect to all belief systems.

Heaven’s Very Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth,

“It’s time again for another birth.”

Said the angels to the Lord above,

“This special child will need much love.”

 

“Their progress may be very slow,

Accomplishments they may not show.

And they’ll require extra care

From the folks they meet down there.”

 

“They may not run or laugh or play,

Their thoughts may seem quite far away.

In many ways they won’t adapt,

And they’ll be known as ‘Handicapped’.”

 

“So let’s be careful where they’re sent.

We want their lives to be content.

Please, Lord, find the parents who

Will do a special job for you.”

 

“They will not realize right away

The leading role they are asked to play.

But with this child sent from above

Comes stronger faith and richer love.”

 

“And soon they’ll know the privilege given

In caring for their special gift from Heaven.

Their precious charge, so meek and mild,

Is heaven’s very special child.”

 

Author Unknown

 

To all of you who are given a child who moves differently from you and others, thank you if you work hard to accept and love and create a healthy space for them and you. If you do not create a safe and healthy space for them and you, please reach out to others and get help.

Opening My Eyes Now

Well, I have to find a school for Michael so he can attend sixth grade next year. Homeschooling is out of the question. We’ve tried it. It didn’t work. I don’t want to do it anyway. I thoroughly enjoy my work and having coffee with friends. 🙂

I found out last week that I’d have to find a school for him. We didn’t know whether his current school would choose to have a 6th grade or not . . . until now. They have made a decision with many sound reasons and I fully agree with the choice for his school to not offer a sixth grade class.

That leaves me in a bit of a pickle though. This past weekend I refused to think about it. When I did think about it, my eyes got all misty and sting-y, so I’d stop thinking about it. Today is Tuesday, and I am starting to think about the possibilities and my eyes aren’t even sting-y. 🙂 Progress. Forward progress and that is a great thing. Next Monday, I will start making phone calls and I will schedule open house visits. For now though, I have eyes at half-mast. I will wait for myself to continue to adjust to the newest task at hand. A task I have done, what feels like, way too many times for a beautiful ten-year-old boy.

School number seven, wherefore art thou?

A Tidbit of Info

I’m a single mom. The statistics state that couples who have different-brained children are 80 percent more likely to get divorced. I get that statistic; I am one of them. Michael and Mason’s dad is on the every other weekend schedule and we have an overtly flexible schedule. I am sleepily awake on this beautiful morning, and I realize that I miss my children so much. It’s been weeks since they’ve been away from me and the house is quiet. I just got out of bed (it’s almost eleven a.m.), and I miss my two boys. And that brings me joy. Now for a cup of coffee and a quiet book and then whatever life has in store for me after that.

Sending in love with the hope that parents of different-brained children fully GET they are not alone. YOU are not alone.

All I Wanted . . .

 

All I wanted was to get my grocery shopping done for the week. That’s all. It was the only outing planned, so it SEEMED like it would be doable. Right?

Being first is our thing. Our life revolves around Michael being first. You could not begin to grasp how important this is unless you witness one of our “events” and then multiply it by one hundred gazillion (I’m looking for sympathy people). And then you might, just MIGHT, understand the insanity of our “being first” thing.

Trader Joe’s is my very most favorite grocery store EVER! I love so much about it, especially the fun energy and friendly people that work there. For kids, they have a “hunt” of sorts. When the kids walk in, they pick up a small pencil and a sheet that has a map of the store on it. There are four different stuffed animals that are “hidden” on different shelves. It feels like the kids own the store as they walk in, get their papers, find the animals, and then claim their treasure, which is a small candy or other treat stashed in the gem-speckled treasure chest near the check-out registers.

I’m in the produce section and have two items already in my cart. I’ve made it through the bread section. The kids are off on their hunt and we’re really moving along at the perfect speed for me, not too fast and not too slow. I’m actually feeling really good in this moment. And then it happens.

Insert moment of silence here.

Feel free to add a deep breath.

Mason found the four animals first in the Trader Joe’s treasure hunt. (String of under-the-breath cursing!) Michael goes red eyed and grabs and pulls my shirt. I am now in it, “it” being trauma.

I innocently ask, hoping to possibly switch his focus, “Sweetie, did you get hurt?”

“No.” Sniffle, muffle, growl.

“Then why are you crying? Did someone say something to you?”

OK, so I know exactly what is going on. Why in the world am I asking these dodging questions? In this exact moment I know for a fact, the same way I know gravity is going to keep me pulled to the Earth, that I am not going to switch his hyper focus. I suppose I just want to get my shopping done, but I know and he knows and Mason now knows that is probably not going to happen.

Mason found the animals first, so Michael starts to grab and bite me as discreetly as possible. He knows that people frown upon hurting others and that I don’t tolerate inflicting pain on others, even when his brother found the animals first. This is when the people around us start to eye dart. I have termed it eye dart for obvious reasons; they don’t want to get caught looking at the scuffle that’s taking place right in the middle of the produce aisle.

Michael then threatens: to leave the store without me, to go to the pet store alone, to make my day as bad as possible, to do whatever it takes to ruin my day. I retort, because I am now hooked in, “So you’re going to ruin my day because Mason found the animals first? Oh yeah, that makes sense.” More grabbing and trying to hurt me. More me saying “that’s not OKOK” and a stern “Stop it!”

I am now walking with Mason riding on the cart, between my arms and under the handle, and Michael clinging not-very-nicely to my back. Yeah! Let’s go shopping!

Damn Mason, finding the damn animals first. Just Kidding, GHEEZ! Good for Mason, in fact. And you shoulda seen Michael when Mason suggested helping him find the last animal . . . . whooo boy, that was getting ugly fast. I had to literally separate Michael from Mason as if they were fighting in the lightweight championship boxing bout. Referee striped shirt was missing, but the skill level of protecting my youngest offspring was pretty adept.

I try to get a few more items, figuring out what the heck my next step is. I start to giggle under my breath, (which, by the way, infuriates Michael) repeating the mantra, “I live insanity. I live insanity. I live insanity.” I suppose repeating that mantra isn’t quite as healthy as “I am love. I am love. I am love.” But who knows? I digress though . . .

Michael now says that the next item I buy has to be thrown away without being used. Huh? Oh dear God. “OK,” I say “one ear of corn?” Seriously, that answer really seemed to work. Whatever, man, we’re able to take a few steps and that’s farther than we were. So far, so horrible.

I try for a few more items, which becomes more like trudging up the steepest mountain in murky slime, bare footed with not a stitch of clothing on, as people are still staring.

I’m done; stick a fork in me. “We’re checking out now. Let’s go.” We make it to the front of the store and run into his old Talent & Development teacher, whom we all love. She wants to talk and catch up for a moment, and I whisper, “We’re in the middle of a major breakdown and I’m just trying to get out of here.” Michael starts crying a little louder because he heard me. Dammit.

How refreshing and serendipitous to run into someone who actually gets what is happening at that very moment. The tears start though. Not just Michael’s at this point; I’ve now joined in the sorrow. The sorrow of being seen, if only for a moment. The sorrow of life shifting on a dime, from pleasant to insane. The sorrow of not getting the Mandarin Orange Chicken that is only nine feet from me at that moment. Oh, the sorrow of it all.

Michael and Mason go to the front as usual to claim their victory prize. Michael never did spot the duck or loon. I suppose the scar on his soul for lying about finding them is easier for him to bear than to admit he was second. Who knows? I check out, we walk through the door, and Michael asks, “Can we go to the pet store?”

I rant now, because I’m frustrated and done and confused and overwhelmed and pissed. “NO, we can NOT go the pet store. I didn’t get my shopping done because of your breakdown, because Mason found a duck first. You want to go to the pet store? No, we are not going to the pet store!”

We get in the car and Mason starts going on and on about Angry Birds (a video game) and Annoying Orange (unexplainable videos on YouTube, which I strongly do not recommend but know that you’re going to check out as soon as you can) and I wonder, Does he dissociate during these moments? He doesn’t even know anything different. How does a six year old cope? When he was five, four, two¸ in utero?

So then I wonder, if I got more than 50 percent of my groceries, was it a successful trip? I’m definitely thinking not successful. I still have to go back and get the two most important things I need, juice and snacks for lunches. I continue to wonder was it successful as far as how I handled it? This is a tough one. I want to keep Michael’s self-esteem intact, and I also want to teach him what’s OKOK and not OKOK for living life.

And my next steps are to immediately call the meds doctor and say I can’t deal anymore. Or to get my ex-husband remarried so I can send the kids to him and his new love, and I’ll get a mundane job so I can relearn what it’s like to NOT have trauma in my life each day. Or . . .

Or I can continue to write these stories—for my healing, through each day—and hopefully share them with others so we can try to shift our mantras from “I live insanity” to “I am love.”

Time will tell.