Oh, progress. What a stress relieving thing it is. As you know, we’ve been struggling to figure out what is wrong with my oldest, Gabe. We have been mind-boggled for years, actually. But time after time Gabe has been cast aside as if nothing is wrong and he’s just an uber knucklehead and I have been chucked away as that mother without parenting skills. While that last bit may hold partial validity, I’m also sure (and have always been sure) that something just isn’t quite right. That Gabe is so smart and so bright — but is still so off and so behind on things I’m really shocked at. My little backwards boy. Even when he was tee-tiny he excelled at things beyond his level and behind on things that should be right at his fingertips. Almost like his little mind had a serious case of the Benjamin Button’s — but in comprehension, not age. Obviously. I’ve known for a long time that something was not right. But I’ve constantly been put off as one of “those moms.” You know the kind. They want their kid(s) doped up and tout d’suite, please, because they cannot be bothered. No. That’s not me. Gabe’s a little boy, and wild though he may be I’ll not zombiefy him for the sake of a little peace and quiet. There are too many risks involved and I’m not big on medicine anyway. But until recently, we were left to our own devices. Left to shuffle through the mounds of “could be” disorders and to figure out where we went wrong. Left to translate what my four year old has been trying so desperately to communicate, and screaming inside what I wish he would understand.
I’ll admit, after being told a hundred times over that, “You’re the problem,” you really start to wonder if that is the case. I don’t mean to make this about me so let me do a little closet cleaning; I’m not saint and hardly a good momma. I’ve done my fair share of yelling and screaming, spanking and cussin’. I’ve muttered under my breath and daydreamed about getting in a cold beer to let some of the aggravation off. I’ve wished the day would just end already and I’ve dreaded the drives home knowing that I wasn’t doing the right thing. Knowing that all the sand raising wasn’t right. Knowing that following my gut was what I should have been doing and wasn’t. Knowing that my actions, and the lack thereof, were positively vile. As much as I love that child, I’ve been equally a terrible mother and a virtual no-show on support because I didn’t understand.. or because I was being told that I wasn’t doing right. I couldn’t physically or mentally understand the child I carried and gave birth to. I loved him, and love him still, with every heartbeat that pumped within me. Yet, I couldn’t muster enough patience with him to see past my own shortcomings to help him fix his. It was too easy to label him “disobedient and unruly.” Just as everyone else had done. Great momma, right? Hardly.
It took a teacher complaining about her possible loss of career (a crock, by the way) and pretty much hating on my kid that made me call bullshit and seek more help. Thank God I stumbled on the right path with the right people. And thank God my faith and patience are being restored. I almost gave up on my kid. And I hate myself for that.
My boy is thought to have SPD; a sensory disorder that can mimic ADHD, Asperger’s, and some signs of Dyslexia. It not only mimics those disorders but can also coincide with them. With help from a speech pathologist and occupational therapist he can learn how to deal with his issue and how to advance in spite of it. We too can be taught how to help him grow and live to his greatest potential. I will not allow myself to be that crippling mother that tells her challenged child to sit back and just “get by.” Gabe will be expected to thrive and push — just how any challenge should be handled. With dedication and commitment. I will continue to be the same grumpy momma bear because (with some exceptions) because I know that he absolutely can. Of all my short-comings, I’ve never once truly doubted his abilities. He is bright and imaginative and I really believe that with a little extra effort he’ll soar. And really, won’t that little extra effort make the pay-off so much more rewarding? I think so.
If he is willing to play a little hardball then Evan and I will be his hard-nosed but deep down rooting for him coaches. He has an amazing support team made up of great friends and family who are already offering support and shoulders without question. This little “disorder” might be exactly what the dr. ordered for this little family!
And so our journey begins. Keep us in thought, y’all. There are a lot of changes to make!