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.