May 30, 2010

One Reunion, Hold the Meltdown, Please

Where's Margaritaville? Seriously. I get so exhausted with my life. Yet I'm glad I have it to live. It is just hard sometimes.
Especially when leaving the house. Taking the risks.

Today we went to my (first) Father's house after church for the second Sunday in a row. After 20 years of reunion thats the closest we've ever come to some inkling of a "tradition" being started. We all yearn for more contact, more real, unhurried, unstressful, closeness, but I'm still nervous.

Especially when my son has a melt down. And that can be often if I'm not on complete alert and guard to try and prevent it beforehand. He is getting so much better with social skills, less anxiety, and changing routines, but he still struggles alot. It is just SO hard to get through the melt downs. It feels like I have to continually walk on egg shells, trying so hard to keep him calm. If I let my guard down even enough to have a relaxed conversation with my Dad or brothers, or little niece or nephew, things can unravel so quickly that it can't be salvaged. That is what happened today.

We were sitting by the pool watching the kids play. My husband was in with them, and I was enjoying the few minutes of just sitting with my family and soaking in the moments of lost time, the feeling of home, familiarity, the bond. I went to the car for just a few minutes to get the camera, and by the time I got back something had happened that set us on a downhill course. My husband had tried to correct and discipline Andrew, threatening him with going home or some other consequence. Every time he tries to discipline Andrew this way it leads to a melt down, so obviously it isn't working. But he hasn't found the alternative either. I think we are both so exhausted it is hard to come up with new and successful parenting techniques or skills that WILL work. We feel like really bad parents sometimes, and it hurts to see others stare in disbelief as we try to work with our son in public. He deals with sensory issues ~ his voice is too loud and he has a hard time self-regulating. Get the picture?

Anyway, a few minutes later things had calmed down and he and his cousin were, by this time, sitting on a chair sharing some pizza when, of all things, his cheese slid right off and onto the concrete. Oh my gosh. Nothing could calm him at this point. Nothing. The only other pizza was in the house so we thought that was the last piece. He threw a huge screaming fit. "GET ME MORE PIZZA!" at the top of his lungs. Pushing, shoving, wild. Most of the time we can't even get him to eat pizza, but even he understood the significance of this special time we were having with our family, and he didn't want it to end, no matter what. But he couldn't handle the pressure either. It was horrible. Having to carry him to the car kicking and screaming (how many times now I can't even count). Apologizing for his behavior, because he tells everyone he doesn't like them, including us.

It is hard, because I know most people think he is just a spoiled brat. And sometimes I really beat myself up thinking I've allowed him to become just that. But I also know how much he tries. He works so hard to keep it together. It breaks my heart to see him so anxious and unable to receive comfort during times of saddness. Instead, he lashes out in anger and independence because of months and months of feeling alone in the NICU.

Even at 5 years old I've noticed that he realizes he is different and he doesn't like it. One time recently he even said (out of the blue) "I don't like myself." What a horrible thing for a Mother to hear. I think he knows these meltdowns cause us to have to cut normal things short...and it hurts him. He loves his Papa, his cousins, etc. Yet it has been so hard to build these relationships because of these issues.

I've had to take a few "cry breaks" even as I write this. Here comes another.

I can't even wrap my head around it...the pain of not wanting my son to struggle through childhood, family, and life. I so want him to be close to his family, the one I lost as a child, and he now has. They love us so much, but it is really hard for me to keep trying because it makes us all so uncomfortable. Lord, please help us. Help us get through this and still grow closer to them. We need them and love being with them. Help Andrew grow and develop and learn, and most of all to love himself.

Even the two hours we were there were precious. My youngest brother and I watched a few minutes of some car race in Turkey (???) and it was so neat hearing him tell me such interesting facts about his passion sport. And my Dad is amazing. I can finally feel the love he has for all of us. As we were sitting by the pool he looked over at my brothers and I and said, "What a happy Papa I am, with all my kids."

Yesterday was a good day, too. We took my Mom (adoptive) to the Bass Pro Shop to see the fish and just walk around in the cool store. She has to use a wheelchair now and it is hard being outside in the heat. It's hard to believe, but we actually got through the whole day without a meltdown...yeah! We walked around the pond, ate on the patio at Los Cabos (the margarita was YUMMY too) and enjoyed feeding the baby geese on the water below. What a great day. Yet, in my heart of hearts, I so wish today could have ended as well. I so yearn for those same moments with my (first) family.

Thank you, God, for the opportunities you are giving us for growth and reconnection. Please help them continue.


Lori said...

Peach, just a thought, but my nephew has some of the same problems - seperation anxiety, behavioral controls, etc. - you know what I am talking about - and one thing of note is that both of them were premies? yes?

I am wondering if it has more to do with being a premie than being in the NICU itself, since my nephew has the same issues -saying the same kind of things, doing the same kind of things.

Maybe you need to stop beating yourself up - sometimes there is nothing you can do except help him by not letting yourself get stressed out. Kids are pretty perceptive with regard to that. I have been telling the exact same thing to my sister for over 5 years.

Just a thought.

Lori said...

One note -my nephew was never in the NICU.

Peach said...

Thank you Lori. You are so right about that, and I pray for strength to do it. I know it will help him and myself. He is an amazing little boy and I'm so thankful for him.
Blessings to your sister and nephew too!

Kellybelly said...

Good morning. I happened to stumble into your blog and couldn’t stumble out without saying...

You are an amazing writer. Your love oozes through the computer screen. I have no experience with adoption or premature birth, but your blog revealed so much to me in only a few minutes. Thank you.

Kellybelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kellybelly said...

I double posted there...guess I was overly enthused. LOL