You get angry.
You get angry with people you have never met for exposing your child to things that they would've been better off never seeing or feeling. You get angry with yourself for loosing patience. You get angry with your child for things that are beyond their control. You get very angry. And then you get angry for getting angry.
You also experience love.
You find that you have love you never thought you were capable of. Love you feel even when you don't want to. Love that finds it way through the anger and wraps itself ever so tightly through the fine threads you feel like you are hanging by. Love that heals you. Love that you pray heals them . . . even when you think it never will.
There are some casualties of war of raising children who come from hard places.
You learn how to get urine smell out of just about everything in your home. You learn how to hide your chocolate in tampon boxes in the far shelf of the bathroom so your child won't find it and eat it all in one sitting (because YOU want to eat it all in one sitting!). You learn how to cope with door alarms, police intervention, CPS investigations, and service providers in your home. You learn the ins and outs of Special Education law and how to navigate through loads of insurance company red tape to get your child the help you know they deserve. You sometimes become bitter, jaded and weary.
There are some fringe benefits too.
You learn how to do a lot of home repair for yourself including plumbing and dry walling to repair the damage caused by children who are angry. You learn that there are genuinely good people in this world who understand what you are going through and want to help your child heal. You learn there are other families who are traveling the same road and give you help and support. Your other children grow up with compassion, patience, and tolerance for those who are struggling. They learn that not everyone is the same. You learn that you have more strength than you ever thought possible.
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things that I learned was how to give others the benefit of the doubt.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - John Watson
Because of this view, I have come to realize that just because I think I know what is going on in another person's life, I truly have no idea. Very few people know or can even comprehend the kind of drama in my home or the craziness that is whirling in the head of my child. It is not his fault. It is a product of his trauma. It can certainly appear that we are horrible parents while he is raging in Target. It would be wonderful if people would give us the benefit of the doubt. Why can't I extend that benefit of the doubt to another person? It is my choice, I absolutely can!
I believe that I have become less judgmental. Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is entitled to make their own choices whether that be religious practice, sexual preference or how they live their lives because I may not have all the answers for THEM. I have learned that regardless of what I believe as a Christian, that has little bearing on someone who doesn't believe what I do. I am called by Jesus to LOVE. I am called to be an example of LOVE. I believe that LOVE wins. All else is nought.
I can support someone who is making a different choice than me. What better way to show the LOVE of Jesus than to LOVE them? What better way to have a possibility of winning them to Jesus by loving them instead of condemning them? One of my former pastors used to say "You will never argue anyone to Jesus" and I stand by that. I will keep standing by that.
I feel like I am a better person for all the trauma we have experienced by raising a child from trauma. It has scarred me. It has changed the very make-up of my being. I am grateful for it all. I feel as though I am better at seeing more of the whole picture . . . even if it is being revealed one small piece at a time.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. - I Corinthians 13:1