Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Tomorrow's the big day.

Tomorrow I bring my son home. He's excited, nervous, worried, and relieved. My feelings echo his. He has spent eight of the eleven months of this year living in other places. His homecoming is greatly anticipated but frightening as well. What if he can't sustain? What if the old behavior returns? What if he struggles and I can't help him?

Yesterday I found out that the day treatment program we had planned to send him to did not have an opening for him. Moreover, the person I spoke with was extremely rude to me, which triggered my internal Mama Bear. If you don't have one, you can't begin to know what it's like to have that come into play, and you probably don't want to! Mama Bear is instinctive and doesn't react to logic. She reacts to feeling, to emotion, in a raw way that only a parent can relate to. After speaking to the day treatment program and feeling my Mama Bear rise, I hung up the phone and began to cry. And boy, did I cry. I cried off and on for three hours. I bawled into my pillow in my office couch (how embarrassing) until I decided that my pity party wasn't going to get me anywhere. Then I decided to put on my big girl panties and go register my son at the neighborhood school.

I was shocked and startled by my emotional response. At no point had I expected to burst into tears, to dread my son's return, to feel such anger and frustration and sadness! Then the guilt followed. What mother dreads her own son's return? Only a mother who has lived with this disorder can understand the complexity of loving a child who can flip between an angel and a demon at the drop of a dime.

And thus I feel my own fragility. Delicately balancing between my unconditional love for my child and my own human limits, I am straddling a line that I can hardly admit to. I hate the idea of being so precariously situated. Of having my strength and my determination, my love and connection to this child challenged. But it will be. It is the nature of attachment disorder.

So often we see fragility as a weakness. But tonight, as we are entering the holiday season, I am trying to remember the beauty that often comes with that which is fragile. The delicate ornaments we hang on our tree, the tiny lights that together create beautiful glows, even the fragile little baby that God gifted to us remind us that fragility is not something to despise, but something to revere.

The fragility of my son's soul is something that I aim to cultivate, to nurture, to cherish. And although this journey is difficult, I hope that I can begin to see my own fragility as something that is valuable and precious, rather than a weakness to rid myself of. Our fragile selves, our parts most vulnerable, are those which make us most human. And perhaps those parts are the ones that deserve the most protection.

Just a thought.

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