Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And So I Did

Bennett is not a boy who really cries. Never has been.

It's uncanny really.

He's taken full headers jumping off of furniture and his parents have had their stomachs go up into their throats with fear and then he has stood up and just shaken it off. I have read a few things about kids with Autism and/or Brain Injuries who experience pain differently than we do. I believe it.

I also believe it to be true when it comes to emotions in general. He giggles or laughs at things that anyone else would, like farts, a perennial favorite, but he also begins laughing or giggling for no reason at all, at whatever performance he may see going on in his head.

Only he knows for sure.

Yesterday, I wrote about my fears that I was at a breaking point. Those fears were not just smoke and mirrors. Bennett threw something across the room at the tail end of a tantrum that was out of control and I yelled at him. And I mean really yelled at him.

I have a booming 'Discipline Voice', and when I say 'No No!' it typically stops him from doing something that is dangerous. This I do not mind at all. In fact, I like it. It certainly is something I liked having in my pocket a week ago, when Bennett slipped past all the chaos when a guest left the front door open at our holiday party and, by sheer blind luck I happened to be outside unloading a car when I saw him darting across the neighbors yard.

MY VOICE stopped him cold. For about 5 seconds. Which gave me just enough time for these 44 year old, extremely out of shape legs to get some steam behind them to start running and catch up to him.

But yesterday, we were inside, and MY VOICE was just...well, it was too loud. And I scared the shit out of him I think.

For the first time in the 4+ years I have known him, he was sobbing. And he was so...confused by it. As if he didn't really understand the emotions that were coursing through him. Of course, I held him, and lost it myself.

This, THIS, was not what I wanted. It is not what I ever want.

Of course, the boy regained his composure far more quickly than the Old Man. I could not contain the flood, and my poor son Carter, age 7 and a half, had to witness it, something I have always tried to shield from him. It was not pretty.

From my background I've always had a unique sensitivity to causing my children pain, physical or emotional. I detest it. I fight against it. And yet, it is unavoidable to a degree. You can't, as a parent, always make your kids happy. That's a Truth with a capital 'T'. But you can, as the father of a boy who has a severe disability, recognize that the things he does he does because he has no other option. It is not his fault.

And what was really punching me in the gut as I sat there, convulsing with tears, is another Truth. As he gets older, what in the world am I going to do if he leaves us? Because how can I possibly trust anyone else, 100%, to care for him? Because if his own father, who loves him with every single cell in his body more than anything else in the world, could be pushed to the brink to yell at him and push him to tears, how would someone ELSE treat him, who doesn't have that love as a fail-safe to pull them back to reality?

Sometimes, a cold dose of parental Guilt is exactly what you need to get your head out of your ass, you know what I mean?

That would not exist if he were somewhere else, and that is a very real possibility as far as his future is concerned. Maybe not when he is a child, but possibly when he is much older. I dunno...I have a hard time seeing him being able to live on his own.

Obviously, I'm hopeful. And I do try to believe that the pace will pick up, that the curve will begin to become steeper and not so...gradual. Clearly, I want to be optimistic that as each year passes he will take broader steps forward, and not take any steps backwards.

But I need to do the same, and figuring out how to avoid letting the steam build up like that to where the cap pops off is critical. I never want to see him cry like that again, especially if I am the one that causes it. Ever. I never want to let Carter get so shaken up and see his Father fall apart like that. Ever.

This Road is hard enough. I don't need to make it harder.

If you decide you want to leave a comment, remember something.

'Don't be so hard on yourself.'

'We all lose it.'

'You can't blame yourself.'

'You're a good father.'

These things, or derivations thereof, I already know. I am just venting a little. Something I should do more of, obviously. But I'm not looking for sympathy, because frankly it is not deserved here.

Something occurred to me while I was writing this post. I think this...compulsion to share these experiences is what keeps me from really leading something like Mission: iPossible to the the next level. As long as I have this blog, and am so personal on it, and I have pics of people with heads up their butts...I don't know how I can balance the two effectively.

Maybe there is a way and I am just not seeing it, but how can people take me seriously as a leader of an organization like that if I continue to expose weakness after weakness in a blog like this one? Does that make sense? And unfortunately I don't have the luxury of going back in time and starting this blog over anonymously.

And yet, I also recognize that my open nature and candor is part of what made it possible to engender trust and security and make that very first Mission of restoration successful. For that part of it there was a relationship that made a lot of sense. But beyond that, as far as growing it into something greater, something more professional. I don't know. Am I really that person?

Perhaps I am over-thinking it. I wouldn't want the stress of the last two weeks to cloud any of my judgment. And it very well might be. My brain has been all twisted up, all night and most of the day.

The funny thing is, today was Bennett's first day back to school.

And all day long? I wished he was here.

Now THAT'S crazy.



  1. You really are one messed up dude. Do what I do, stop caring about your kid. Makes life a shit-load easier.

    Or so I'm told.

  2. I can't recall where I saw/read but I have always liked it.

    Man, weary and worn down to a nub.

    followers looking to him. " but you are our leader"

    Man, "leader? heck no, I'm just out in front"

    - leaders are just that, someone who looked up one day and found themselves out front.

    Many of us parent as if we are grown up and done growing. As if being a grown up is a thing you achieve and once there you stagnate. We all continue to grow as humans whether we wish to or not.
    Some lessons are the gentle kind, others like your resent one are along the lines of a disembowelment.

    I'm glad to see after sitting there with your guts spilled out you stuffed them back in and got up again.
    I've been lurking for a while now, quietly reading your words. Thankful that someone is speaking aloud what so many of us endure in silence. It's comforting to know that I am not alone in the parenting battles, whether they be wins or losses. Its having the courage to shoulder the bat day after day and swing no matter what is pitched.

    Peace be the journey


  3. Been there, yelled that. I hate that look on his face. How are they so resilient?

  4. SD:
    I love you man, in a non-gay way of course (not that there is anything wrong with that). You make me laugh, and that is why I let you live.

    Thanks for lurking, but most of all, thanks for stepping out of the shadows and sharing. What you said, the things you said...well, I can't express enough sometimes what sentiments like that mean to me. A lot. Thank you so much.
    I'll do my best to at least get on base, even if I have to get hit by the pitch.

    Maybe because they are so pure, untainted by all the crap WE have to carry around with us, you know? CHRIST I have been so delinquent in visiting with you. Sorry about that. I need to make some much needed 2012 adjustments.

  5. I think you make a great front man for MiP "because" of who you are, not in spite of it. People trust you. And it doesn't mean you have to do all of the work behind the scenes that doesn't suit you well. Hopefully others have strengths that can better match up for those. I also bet that with your Ebay experience you can get a package out in about 2 minutes flat :)


  6. I really don't know how we all do it. It's weird to me how we keep at it though, sorrow turning to despair to grief to absurdity to wonder to anger to fear to joy. It's extreme parenting and the balm is being mindful of all of it.

  7. Personally, I think it's a hell of a lot easier to support a leader who knows s/he is fallible and imperfect. It's the people who think that they have all the answers who scare me. Hard to trust someone like that. Easy to respect someone who stands up and says "I don't know" or "I screwed up, but I'm trying."

    You can take it to the next level. You have to be ready to do it, but you have the skills and this blog won't hurt you. It lends credibility to what you're trying to do. You need backing, right? Money from deeper pockets than the parents of kids with disabilities tend to have.

    So you need people who don't live it to get it-- to get not only that ipads help the kids but also that this is a community they ought to help-- 'cause there are a lot of worthy causes vying for limited funds. Getting ipads in kids hands is a pretty simple thing to do. Not that it's easy, that's not what I mean, but that physically it is not complicated-- it's not curing cancer or sending people to Mars-- it's extremely do-able. This blog shows the struggle-- it shows the impact on the child, siblings, parents... It shows why they should write big checks.

    I think you're almost at the point where you can take it to that next level.

  8. Get a ton of clay at the nearest art type shop and make something. Make anything you feel like making and then destroy it, throw it squish it, rip it in pieces. Destroying things always makes me feel better. IT's a good vent though not always the best when you get too pissed.

  9. Kevin:
    That eBay thing...it's such an albatross, a double-edged sword for me. I should talk about it and get it off my chest. It really hammers away at my spirit. But thanks about the other stuff, I do appreciate what you said.

    Extreme Parenting. I think, if I lived out where you live, I would pitch that as a reality TV show. With the right group of producers, it could be a fantastically moving, dramatic show.

    Thanks. Spoken like a true quilt-maker. Examining all the pieces and figuring out a way to put it all together. I suppose I will figure out a way to merge everything into one. I guess I need to shed some things, streamline, but I also have to figure out a balance point and also figure out how to resolve my house issue and my career issues and a whole lot more.

    Not a bad plan at all. Or I could get my Ulnar Nerve thing fixed so I could get my heavy bag working again. That used to REALLY help me. :)


You Are a Beautiful Blank Page...Do You Have a Great Pencil?

Christmas is over. That sound you hear is my sigh of relief. The tree is not actually down, as the opening image suggests. That was a t...