Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm back

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve written, a whole nine days, in fact. A lot has changed in the last week. For starters, it’s a new month. Furthermore, it’s finally hot, the kids have started round two of their swim lessons, and the corn and tomatoes and allergies are officially in season (sip-sip, splish-splash, yay!, and ah-chew, respectively).

It has been intense around here, but, as is the pattern, we are no longer battling the cloud that periodically engulfs Yo-Yo. In its wake, we are deeply relieved, but still tentative, taking one step at a time and rejoicing every time we put our feet on solid ground instead of those fragile egg shells we have been tromping all over.

Just this last week, our pastor, at our request, has formed a care team for us, and then at the beginning of this week, we traveled an hour and a half south to meet with a psychologist; we make the same trip two more times next week in hopes of gaining some clarity. Also, we are setting up an appointment to see another team of doctors later in the month—Clarity, darling, we want you! Yes, the bills will be hefty, but desperate times call for desperate measures, money be damned.

In my last post I mentioned my grief. I’ve had more time to think about what it is that I’m grieving and this is what I’ve come up with: Each time we admit there is a problem, each time we take one (much deliberated) step farther up (down?) the chain in search of Help—we are admitting to ourselves that this problem is for real. First it was the therapy and counseling, and then came the testing, shortly followed by some (bad) doctors and some (good and bad) medicines. But of all the steps we’ve taken, this decision to ask for a care team has possibly been the hardest. (For those of you unacquainted with church goings-on, an unofficial definition of “care team” is a group of four to six adults who gather to meet with the needy person(s) for the express purpose of listening and providing discernment, wisdom, assistance, and guidance ... or something like that.) Lots of people get counseling and lots of kids are on meds, but how many parents need an official group of people (outside of the normal family and friends) to support them as they go about the every day business of raising their child? It’s sad, humbling, and sobering, and it’s also a profound gift for which I am deeply grateful.

Every time we do another intake or see a new doctor, I find myself having to convince another person, regardless of how professional and courteous they are, that our son has a problem worthy of their services. I’m worn out from describing The Problem over and over, coldly breaking my son down into little pieces, laying all his flaws out on the table to be ogled by some stranger. What I want to tell them is this: Listen, you and you and you! Our son is a GOOD person! He’s kind and respectful and smart and zippy and dynamic and hard working and courteous. We love our child and he loves us, absolutely and totally, no matter what we say and no matter what he says. This turmoil you see, these stories you hear, are not really about our son. Do you understand that? Please, please, please know that’s not him. But when I give in to my compulsions and let slip a “he really is a wonderful child,” I sound tacky and desperate. Even though they kindly nod and um-hum, I can tell they’re thinking, Of course you think he’s wonderful—you’re his MOTHER, and I realize how insufficient my words sound when tucked alongside all the other beastly things I’ve already said about him.

Already, only several days after the dark cloud passed on by, it’s hard for me to imagine that anything is possibly wrong. Except for the occasional blip, life is easy. It ebbs and flows and gently swirls. There is normal-kid disobedience followed by normal-parent consequences, and then we move on, lessons taught and lessons learned. When I sit in the sterile prefab offices dredging up the horror stories for the pensive docs in leather swivel chairs, I feel like I’m outright lying, telling tall tales.

But I’m not. If I were, I would now say “The end,” but since it’s not, I can’t. Instead, I’ll have to settle for “To be continued.” The good news is that “to be continued” means we get to take a break, so even though I can’t close out this little story in the typical tidy manner, I can take a breather. There is now room in my life—hallelujah!—for solitary trips to town, photography, fun cooking, and writing. Oh, how I missed the writing!

I’m back, dearies. It’s a good place to be.

About One Year Ago: Tomato Bread Pudding (I can not wait to make this again) and a canning story: Down in the Peach Pits (I'll be picking up three bushels of peaches tomorrow, so I'll soon be back in those peachy pits).


  1. I'm so glad you're back- and all that it means:-). You weathered the storm. Breathe deep.

  2. Happy to see you are posting again..... one thing that gets me through a bad moment is repeating (under my breath) "I can do this...I can do this ....I can do this" among other things it has helped me thru contractions, shoveling 25 yards of bark, and being married for 15 years...I don't know if it works on kids....but you never know. Sometimes life feels like two steps forward and one step back.....but what would we learn if life was a piece of cake? I hope "the problem" gets better for you and your little man. Happy thoughts :) Mavis

  3. You are fortunate to have a community of people you can turn to. In the US we have the "I did it myself, you can/should be able to as well" lore which makes it difficult/shameful to ask for help. In reality, we all need someone to lean on from time to time. I'm glad you have such a group. GL with the dr visits, i hope they provide some clarity. Thinking of you.

    Will you be coming up to NY for the wedding?

  4. Hooray! So happy to see your return to blogging. You've been missed. Welcome back!

    You ask " . . . how many parents need an official group of people . . . to support them as they go about . . . raising their child?" It would be my guess that we'd ALL profit by being fortunate enough to have a "care team" help us in any way they could! Yay, team! Heck, bring in TWO care teams; good parenting is a tremendously difficult job even under the BEST of circumstances.

    Steer far, far away from letting all of this insult your intelligence or parenting skills, or cause you to feel inadequate. I'm thinking Yo-Yo is a blessed child to have the parents he does.

    I'm not in any way, size, shape, or form an authority on such but I'd be willing to bet your little guy's problems are chemical/physical rather than psychological/emotional.

  5. Thanks, ya'll, for your encouragement. You speak a lot of truth---truths I need to be reminded of...with embarrassing frequency.

    Kim, yes we'll be there for the wedding!