Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Collateral Damage . . .

I worry.  It is who I am and who I will likely always be.  I worry about things  that I have no control over.  I worry about things I cannot change.   I worry abut worrying.

Lately by biggest worry has been my 2 younger kiddos.  I worry that raising them in a home that is as chaotic as mine and as crazy as ours can be will "break" them.  I  worry that all the attention given to Dustin will make them feel "less".  I worry that they are not getting what they need from me as a parent.  Are they getting a tired, grumpy and on edge parent?  They deserve better.

Logically, I can tell myself that no one grows up in a optimal environment and that this life will make them more compassionate, more patient and more loving.  Logically, I can tell myself that I am doing the best we are doing the best we can and it will all come out in the wash.  But it is HARD.  It is hard to see them struggle.  It is hard to see them get frustrated that their 17 year old brother is on the porch in his underwear when we come home from daycare.  It is hard to see them get angry that he can't just do what he is asked.  I hate seeing them grouching at him.  I hate hearing them say "Can't you just listen for once!?"  I hate denying them the ability to go somewhere as a family because it is a place that Dustin can't handle the sensory aspect of.  I hate saying no to sleepovers and play dates at our house because of what I would be exposing other children to.

Today is teacher conferences at their school.  I know that both kids will get talked to about not completing homework.  In reality, that is more my fault than theirs.  Typically they get fabulous grades and do well in class. Our life is so chaotic in the evenings, homework is one of the last things I push.  Most nights we scrap it in order to have some semblance of family time or Dustin is so out of hand that nothing would get done anyway.  It is my issue and something I am going to have to address with the teachers.  I hate airing our "dirty" laundry, but sometimes I feel like it has to be done.  I hate feeling like a failure not being able to juggle it all.

Both of my kids have definitely inherited a piece of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I think that s where the problem lies.  The way that is presents itself is different in each child, but our household and it's atmosphere is not helping.  I have to come up with a way to calm the entire house and to make each child feel as though they are an integral and important part of our home.  And maybe they already feel that way and these are my own insecurities spilling over!  I thought as the kids got older, it would be easier, and it seems to just present new challenges and hiccups. 

There are no easy answers.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rough . . .

Things have been rough around here lately. We have had another incident in public the weekend after the last post.  It was not too drawn out because I caught him before he actually took off.  But we became a spectacle in he parking lot when people began gawking at us and I lost my cool.

Last weekend, Dustin spent a half hour on the corner of our busy street at about 10:00 at night in his underwear in freezing temperatures.  At first, I left him thinking he would come home, but later it became obvious that it was going to take coaxing to get him home.  It was not fun.

This week has been better, but today I got screamed at for most of the day.  Fun times. 

We did just turn in paperwork to file for guardianship of Dustin when he turns 18 next month.  Makes me wonder if we are making the right decision.  The problem is I am not sure there is any other decision to make.  He has no options and I made a  commitment to him knowing that he would not be able to live on his own at 18. We are doing the right thing.  I just wish it wouldn't be so damn difficult.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Ergh, embarrassment . . .

Yesterday I had to run some errands and help a friend with a home improvement project.  I took Dustin and McCartney and then we decided we would go do a bit of shopping.   Heading into Kohls he asked if we could go to the pet store.  The answer was no.  He obsesses over pet stores and truly I was not in the mood for it today.  I told him we were going to the mall next and I would get him a pretzel.  I could tell in his eyes that was not acceptable and he was going to make me pay for it. 

Once we were inside he kept venturing farther and farther away from me.  I ignored it.  I could tell he wanted me to chase him.  We have not had an issue in public like this for a long time, not since our trip to Kmart where the police were actually involved.  I decided that I would not chase him and I actually needed to try on some undergarments so I would just let him wander the store.  I was fairly confident he would not leave the store and every time I saw him sneaking by me I would mention to him that he could keep walking around and I would tell him when we were leaving.  Of course I was smiling even though I wanted to holler at him to get his butt back over here where I asked him to be!  I did not want an incident, little did I know . .  .

When it was time to go, we headed toward the checkout.  He came by soon and I told him we were leaving.  He jumped, hollered NO, and ran away.  I explained to the checkout girl that he was special needs (even though he is bigger than me and look completely typical)  and I didn't want to cause a scene.  I told her I was going to go sit on the bench near the door and wait.  She was very kind and asked if I wanted her to page him, I knew it wouldn't do any good.   I wanted to chase him down with every fiber of my being, but I knew it would be ugly, and quite frankly since I broke my leg last year I have a hard time walking, let alone running.  Also, I am trying to have GRACE this year and I thought that waiting patiently and being non-confrontational would result in a better ending for all of us.

After sitting there about a half hour, I knew we had not made any progress.  I knew it was time to see if I could get him to comply.  I walked toward the back of the store and asked McCartney to stay up front.  I saw him and he ran back to the bathroom next to the service desk.  I was thrilled.  I knew he was trapped and I knew if I just waited him out, I could snatch him when he came back out.  I explained to the service desk that he was special needs and that I would likely be creating a scene when he came out.  The young man and woman there seemed to understand and gave me those sympathetic eyes.  There were 12 or so people in line to return merchandise too. I was irritated and embarrassed by the point and my voice was bit quivery but I was holding it together.   The worst part is that McCartney had no idea I was standing there and I was worried because she was still up front.

I waited.  And waited.  After about 10 minutes I figured he knew I was out there and he was not going to come out.  I decided to go into the men's restroom and talk to him.  Nice.  He was huddled into the corner of the handicapped stall and refused to talk to me at all.  I knew we were at a standstill.  The stall lock was not one that I could unlock from outside and I was not able to crawl under (ew!).  I walked back out defeated with people staring.

The young man at the service desk asked if he could try.  I told him I didn't think it would make a difference and I was worried it would irritate the customers standing in line to be helped.  HE said he wanted to try.  After about 5 minutes he opened the door and Dustin came walking out.  I was thrilled! I told him how thankful I was and that I appreciated his kindness.  I began to sob and he siad, "Can I hug you?"  It was very kind and very much appreciated.  I was mortified and he made me feel very understood.  This young man was only about 25 years old.  I was so very thankful. 

I held Dustin's wrost and made the trek back up the front of the store with him hollering all the way.  It was fabulous I tell ya! (not)  By this point McCartney had found me and was just as embarrassed as I was.  We left the store with him yelling and me sobbing. 

I put him in the car and took him home.  I picked up Harrison and we went to the mall.  I really did not want to go but McCartney was looking forward to spending her gift cards from Christmas.  We stopped at the pretzel place and sat down to eat.  A little girl walked past us with her parents.  She was mentally handicapped and had an obvious outward disability.  She was carrying on and her parents were simply holding her arm and walking through the mall.  Harrison looked at me and said, "Mom, see that girl over there? I kind of wish Dustin looked like her.  Then people would know why he acts like he does.  They wouldn't think it was your fault." 

Yes, dear boy.  Me too.  Sigh.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Word for this year . . .

I have been reading lots of blog posts about people choosing the "Word for the year".  At first I wanted to choose one and then I hurt my brain trying to come up with one.  I wanted it to be special, meaningful and forcing it wasn't working.  It wasn't magical.  It was work and I didn't want to do it that way.  I decided if I was going to choose a word it had to choose me.

It did today.

I am not speaking of grace in the sense of being graceful.  I am by no means graceful, I mean, I broke my leg in three places on a blow up carnival game for goodness sakes!  I could definitely use some grace in that department, but that is not what is talking to me at the moment. 

Grace has been defined as "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it, the benevolence shown by God toward the human race . It is  a spontaneous gift from God to man - generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved that takes the form of divine favor, love and clemency.

Boy, I am who I am because of the grace the creator has given to me.  I need to make certain that I am showing grace daily to those around me, those living in my home, those in my circle of friends and probably most importantly to myself.  I will focus this year on pouring that grace into the lives of those around me and myself.

What will that look like?  I am certain that will evolve as I do.  I am thinking right now, that will take on the face of patience.  I will learn to be still and wait.  I think it will also start with giving others the benefit of the doubt.  That is what grace looks like right now, the future . . . it will be a journey that I am happy to take.  

Knowledge is but folly unless it is guided by grace.  - George Herbert

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.       -Martin Luther

But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That's what I strive to do, that's what I pray to do every day.      - Barack Obama

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.      - Anne Lamott

And you know, when you've experienced grace and you feel like you've been forgiven, you're a lot more forgiving of other people. You're a lot more gracious to others.     - Rick Warren
Grace in women has more effect than beauty.     -William Hazlitt

Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.    - William Hazlitt

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

So here's to the year of grace. . .