Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I was once told that I didn't know how to love. That only having a child would give me that ability. That statement made me angry. It hurt. Until I understood it to be true. I think the messenger greatly misunderstood that statement and was all to eager to find satisfaction in delivering it to me. As if my "inability to love" was by some fault of my own. Some things in life are meant to be learned through experience. What you don't experience, you don't learn. I know how to love and I now know what it is to be loved. Because of my children. It is the most glorious feeling in the world.
Seriously, at that point in my life, if I was confident enough, I would have very respectfully told that person how wrong she was. I had experienced love. For family, first love, friends and eventually, my husband. I love deeply and honestly and hope for my children to do the same.
Is it possible to love so hard that it is impossible to see what really is? My boy has some issues. We don't make a huge deal of them, but we don't hide them either. I have heard him called the "Golden Child" because we do handle him differently (OK, so it was one person, but still...). We do not excuse his behavior when it is in appropriate, but we do deal with it differently than we would our other two. But he is not like our other two. It's not favoritism. He is high energy, high anxiety and highly adorable! Because of his anxiety issues, he can be very sensitive. To touch, to voice. And if not handled properly, he can quickly get out of control. Not violently, just emotionally. And then you know you've lost him. For me,the internal panic starts. I begin to question how I handled the situation, am I even helping and ultimately, I start to pray that I get him through with the least amount of damage and as much confidence as I can. And then, it's over. His blue eyes, bloodshot, his face and ears, crimson. The rough moment is over, but his face tells all. God! Then, he smiles! I smile. He has a smile that warms your heart and makes you feel as though there's nothing but good stuff ahead. Oh my heart! I love that kid.
His anxiety has made school tough. He repeated kindergarten because he spent so much of the year with anxiety/separation issues that he just couldn't focus on school. I thought I failed him because I sent him as a very fresh 5 year old. I thought that he needed a push. I would have loved to have him home with me, but I thought I was just encouraging the separation issues that he had even at 9 months old. In First grade, there was talk of classifying him as Special Ed. We consulted several people and decided it really wasn't necessary at this point. The issue is being brought up again, in second grade. Now we are seeking an outside opinion. There are lengthly explanations as for why. We have once again consulted with others who don't seem to think we are off base and agree that we should seek an outside opinion. In the end, if it is deemed he needs additional resources, then fine.
This is why I question if my love and my desires for him to be successful are clouding the truth. I want him to be a fighter. But I don't want to make his life so hard that he feels as though he is constantly fighting an uphill battle. That can be daunting. Especially for a little guy. I should mention that he had made GREAT improvements. That is what we look at. How far he has come. Progress. Others commented on it too. We have actually noticed that his sister suffers from shyness at a lever far greater than he does. He is just a different boy. SO much so. I want to give him more time to grow. When there was the question of ADHD, we said, no drugs...and we will deal with it. He doesn't have ADHD. They don't even talk about it any more. Is it possible to love him through this? I will. I will fight with him and love him so hard that when he doubts himself, he'll know I'm there and how much I believe in him. This is so hard. I actually had to walk out of a conference because I couldn't choke back the tears any longer. I sat there wondering if I had failed him, was I failing him, will I fail him? I still don't know all the answers.
And then there is my daughter who floats through school almost effortlessly. Her biggest struggle is her lack of organization followed by her perfectionism (slows her down and she could care less if she misses out on something) and shyness. With her, I worry that she isn't putting herself out there enough. Is she lonely? Happy? I always ask her teachers, "does she talk?" Usually, at that point, they have been in school for a couple of weeks and understand why I ask. She is quiet. I recently found out that she is often alone in gym and that when they have to find a partner, she is left without one. She has friends, but is to shy or afraid to be rejected to ask. How did this happen? Could I have prevented this? And then every awful, sad, heartbreaking scenario goes through my mind. This is so hard. My solution was for her to invite her "usual" friends as well as all others (girls) in the class to her birthday party. Hoping that a different environment, her environment, would help her feel more confident and that the other girls would get to see Emily as we do. I think it went well. One of the girls didn't want to leave.
My weakness for Emily, is her vunerability. Her inability to express her feelings freely. She holds everything in. I have to seek her out in a quiet moment. It is then that I am reminded what an amazingly compassionate (she often appears as though she could give a rip) little girl she is. And she loves to snuggle. With me. In the dark, I can still see those incredible big blue eyes staring back at me. Just like in those first months, as a newborn as I nursed her in the wee hours in the night. Those first moments before her eyes would close with contentment shortly after latching on. She would look up at me. With those Big. Blue. Eyes.
Alec. What can I say? He is four. Right now I am struggling with the idea that he could go to kindergarten next year. He could leave me. He, just like his brother, will be a very fresh 5. There is nothing in me that thinks he will have any of the issues that Ethan did. Alec is an entirely different kid. He is most like me. Not too shy. He is ready. I am not. My feeling is that, once they get on that bus, life starts. There is no going back. I want that one more year. I also feel that I could start to feel better and that we could do so much more. Is this selfish or practical? Emily really is pushing for him to start because it would be the only year she could ride the bus with him. He also has this adorable little friend. They are like two peas in a pod. He will be starting next year. I am not ready....This is so hard.
So with Alec, his cuteness at this age runith over! He is the baby. And I have come to terms with the fact that he may very well be our last. We had to make that choice when I was put on a certain medication. This makes letting go so much harder. Though,I suppose it would have had to happen at some point, at some child. There is more time for him. Emily and Ethan were 18 months apart. Not much one-on-one time there. He is expressive. loving, funny and pleasantly independent. He very much possesses the combined endearing qualities of his siblings.
So why should I treat them the same? As you can see, they are very different from each other. Why should anyone expect us to ignore their amazing individual qualities? We are an adaptable family. Because we have to be. Because it works for us. Because we want to be. Maybe we are sometimes blinded by the love and desires we have, But isn't that better than not having any to be blinded by at all? I want to believe this. I want to know that my desire to love them so right is healthy and affords them all the opportunities life offers. I want to make them better, because that's what they make me.