With every ounce of energy in my body that I can muster, I conjure all of the positive thoughts that I can possibly think of. Eventually, when things get tough, this practice becomes a bit exhausting. I have many things I’m grateful for in my life, don’t get me wrong. On Saturday, my husband and I drove to see my family 2 hours away (give or take) so that we could spend Easter with them on Sunday. Otherwise, Easter would’ve been a bit of a drag. The tradition of the Easter baskets and the great egg hunt where at least one egg always comes up missing absolutely means something.
The fact that we have the tradition and that we can still follow it remains a positive facet of our lives. Squeaker enjoys playing with his cousins and one or two of them enjoy playing with him more than the rest, but it works. It also gives his brother a break because it allows him some time with us while Squeaker plays with his cousins. I’m also less likely to receive judgment about my son’s behavior from my family, so at least I can take comfort in that. I rarely get to spend time with family. It’s just too much–the drive–so we really do choose carefully when we’re going to make that effort.
The high points:
- Seeing the kids wearing bunny masks
- The delight of opening those Easter baskets
- Finally seeing Big Guy open up to Granny and Pappaw (precious!)
- Sitting at the table with my sister making those devilish deviled eggs (and no, damn it, I DON’T need help piping in the filling!)
- Small moments of connecting with my husband
- Playing with Big Guy, even if he did pretend to shoot me at least 20 times
- Those brief moments where Squeaker became himself again and showed me love
- Surprise birthday cake (yummy coconut cake)
- The kids falling asleep in the car on the way home
Of course, we had our struggles as well. Although we’ve adjusted medications and saw a temporary reprieve from the violent episodes, we then began seeing more violence during other parts of the day that Squeaker normally doesn’t display violence. Mornings became problematic, then early afternoon, and our bedtime routine no longer has the relief the medication change had offered. Even after the doctor readjusted our medication at the med check appointment, we only a brief two-day change before it was back to status quo. Consequences mean nothing. He tells us to take his things away. He already knows he has lost. Meanwhile, I have bruises all over my body from protecting his brother, myself, and Squeaker from himself. Our ride to visit family started with us putting pillows between the two boys in attempts to protect Big Guy. I switched seats and let The Manager drive because I could no longer concentrate on driving. The switch somehow calmed him down.
Our typical struggle times came before medication in the morning, the afternoon before medication, and then again before bedtime. Each time, he would aggressively go after us, hitting, kicking, and biting. When he couldn’t get to us, he would go after himself, making himself bleed or nearly bleed. I cried more than once this weekend. Thankfully, at least we had family there to keep his brother a safe distance from all of this, because inevitably when we’re at home, Big Guy will want me to hold him while these episodes go on, and this puts him in harm’s way. Protecting one child while trying to protect the other becomes a difficult task. Big Guy had Granny and Pappaw, this time, though, while The Manager and I tag-teamed with Squeaker until we could calm him down.
Blessedly, our ride home met without incidence for the most part. Squeaker wound up falling asleep, which meant we had a peaceful ride. His brother actually wound up being the one that stayed up the whole time–the little stinker. Perhaps Someone up there knew we had had enough at that point and gave us a break. I don’t know. With sore muscles and tired souls, we carried two kids into the house last night and put them to bed. After taking some time to relax ourselves, we went the same way ourselves. This morning, my husband took Big Guy to daycare so he could play with kids his age without fear and to increase the odds that Squeaker would have a good day. Squeaker slept in and we’ve had only a small amount of hitting. This week, I will attempt to develop strength through even the smallest moments of peace.
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Eventually, I will find the strength in peace.