I knew it was one of “those” days when he wouldn’t wear his coat because “the arms were too cold” as he tried to slip the coat on. It was 30 degrees outside.
We made it to preschool even without the coat on and he agreed to wash his hands with his classmates even though he was cold. With this agreement I thought maybe the coat thing was just a fleeting flip of the switch and he was back on track. Uhhh, no. As he headed to the rug and began to play with the other kids I began to recognize the familiar tick of the time bomb signaling to me that all was not in sync. Tick… “But that’s MINE!” Tick… “I want be THERE!” Tick… “Time to clean up” says the teacher, and he wanders. Tick…
As he ticked, I was trying to carry on a focused conversation with a fellow preschool mother who is also a holistic health practitioner. In fact, we were discussing my need to meet with a psychiatrist to help me work through my emotionally abusive childhood (lol!) All the while I found myself with one ear and occasionally an eye following my little one.
Suddenly, don’t ask me what exactly stopped me in mid-sentence to call my son over to my side. Perhaps it was the sudden yet very familiar jig that he was dancing. You know, the one where the arms are flailing like a chicken, the head is wobbling back-forth-up-and down, all while the legs are marching awkwardly. And maybe it was just the invisible string that attaches my mother heart to his precious soul alerting me to the pending melt down. Whatever it was and that which followed was a ritual. Something vital that occurs without thought or explanation several times every day.
“Caleb! Come here Love.” Thankfully he was tuned in to my voice and I didn’t need to call him again as he ran over to me, grateful for the rescue. “Show me your space Caleb.” A bit of a jig tries to take him away from me. But I insist, knowing that this is a must in order for him to get through the upcoming family style breakfast with his class. “Show me your space.” Finally he responds to my request with a swirl of one arm circling in front of his body. “Show me your back” Another swirl, in the back this time. “Show me your head – your tummy – your feet.” His swirls finished, he’s calm now and able to look into my eyes. “Caleb, find Miss Beth’s voice” We find it together and I tell him to follow Miss Beth’s voice as he runs off to follow her. I turn back to my friend to continue our conversation as if the scenario that had just taken place was the most normal thing in the world. And I guess for me, it has become “the norm.”
She had tears in her eyes. Tears. She looked at me in a new light. She had just witnessed first had what I try to explain to other people every day. She “got it.” My life as a mother is very complex and… exhausting. Rewarding and Frustrating. I have three boys who struggle with SPD in three different ways every day. It is real. So very real.
She looked at me and said, “You would never have been able to pick up on that and do what you just did without having had the experiences that you had as a child, not without a whole lot of training.” And you know what, she’s right.
I believe that our children have been given to us as their parents for a reason. We are meant to be their parents. Our gifts and struggles, turned life-lessons can become their blessings. Some days we have to dig deeper to find the connection then other days. But they are there. It is not a mistake or a fluke that we ended up together. We have what it takes to bless our child’s life. We can’t fix their problems and make them go away. And they can’t fix ours. But we can help each other along the path.
How grateful I am for good days and good friends that remind me that this is all a blessing, not a curse!