Sunday, September 6, 2009


I've always loved to write. I guess I'm a big rambler too, so a blog seems like a perfect place to post my thoughts. As I begin this process, I'm imagining nobody will ever read this, which is fine with me, but in case someone does, that will be okay too.

My insides are churning regarding my life. Decisions surround every facet of what I do, every day, and I often worry that I make the wrong ones. Some decisions--like choosing appropriate preschool snacks or how much time I let my youngest spend watching TV today--are relatively minor in consequence and worry. Yet the big decisions--what will happen to my oldest as he faces dealing with an incredibly challenging disability, what will happen with my job as I reinterview for a new position, what will happen with our family as we receive the results of my husband's bar exam--seem overwhelming. Quite frequently on my mind is my twelve-year old. His struggles with emotional turmoil and physical/mental limitations are enormous at times and overwhelming. His list of diagnoses are never-ending, depending on the doctor and the day. He has been my most difficult challenge in life, and has made me rethink everything from my career to my living situation to motherhood. And yet, he is in so many ways my hero. Despite his struggles and his illness, his labels and his prognoses, he pushes through each day and continues to believe in me as his mother. That despite his internal doubts about himself and me, that I will always love him. That he belongs with me and my husband and his sister in our home.

Reactive attachment disorder was a label I first heard of eight and a half years ago when I brought this sweet child home. Of course this was a possible problem for him; he had spent the first three years of his life bouncing around in different situations. But his desire to be with me was so strong, and he was so sweetly loving in those first few years, I didn't believe the label fit. However, there were things that were incredibly offputting; the need to be with me nonstop; his inability to play in any organized fashion; his lack of attachment to other adults who cared for him. Even then there were emotional outbursts that made him emotionally needy--he needed me to help him and be with him and never leave him without thorough explanations of where I would be going and when I would be back. And the tears that followed every time I left...over the years would fill a river. And the guilt and frustration I felt in leaving him that never left me. Over and over we would dance the dance, yet we never got better at it.

Now I look at this pubescent child on the cusp of adolescence and I worry what the future will hold for him. Will I be able to continue to do my job as his mother? Will I have the strength and fortitude to insist that he receive the treatment that he needs even if it means a hospitalization for up to a year three hours from our home? Can they guarantee me this child will have a better chance at life if we do make these sacrifices?

You see, in the end I don't care if he has a great job, a nice house, even a good partner. I don't even worry so much that he feels happy instead of sad. What I worry most about is that he can feel contentment. Never in his life has he felt content. And that is what I want for him more than anything else...contentment.

In the meantime, we will continue to plod along and do what we can to form an attached, functional family unit despite the limitations and restrictions of this disorder. We will love and we will laugh and we will have faith in God and His love and healing. And when my child feels weak, he will remember how much I believe in him, and hopefully give it another try. And when I have nights like this one, I will remember his belief in me. And I'll try to live up to what my little hero expects.

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