The last few hours of my life were ugly.
At one point I was on my knees in the family room crying. I could hear one of my children upstairs screaming and pounding. The pounding could be any number of things: feet or fists pounding the wall. Toys or books being thrown. Something else I don’t want to know.
My husband took the other children to leave for church, and I stayed home with the child who will miss today’s events.
I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence but it’s not.
This is what life looks like when you parent a child with emotional issues.
A Writer & A Mom
Here is where I struggle with my limitations as a mom-writer-speaker. Since starting this blog I’ve been amazed at how I’ve had the chance to come into the lives and hearts of so many people, and how quickly the blog has grown. I consider this a privilege God is giving me.
I’ve shared some of the funny crazy stuff, and yes, some of the sad stuff that happens in this family of mine. We have our mix of two parents plus five children, some who came by birth and some adopted, each of us with our own personalities and needs. The kids would want me to add the two black cats (who constantly sneak into our cabinet and eat our bread — bread?!) as family members, but that stretches my limit.
Parenting Children with Emotional Issues
It gets more tricky to share the ugly stuff. I know — I JUST KNOW there are thousands (millions?) of parents out there going through the exact same types of situations. We need each other. Oh, we so desperately need each other because this is phenomenally difficult.
This is the type of parenting that rips at the fabric of a marriage and tears apart even the most tightly woven. Mike and I have been shocked to discover year 19 has been the hardest one of our marriage. You would think after 19 years we would know exactly how to cling to each other when storms hit, but somehow we are just now learning how to get this most intimate yet challenging relationship figured out. We will get it.
I consider myself a highly experienced parent. I have 5 children of my own and I have been a foster parent to 35 others. Before that I was an elementary and middle school teacher.
Yet parenting the children we have with behavior needs has rocked my world. I am stretched to every limit and then I get stretched further. I have a dear friend who is parenting a son who is healing from an attachment disorder. She says, “this is the beyond the beyond” of parenting. Yes, that.
For the sake of my children’s privacy, I need to keep some of the details hidden. Once something is out on the Internet, it’s out there forever, and forever is a very long time. But I’ll tell you this —
I share with you that the ugly is here so you know you aren’t alone. I might not share the tiny details, but you can know our family is real and broken and dealing with ugly stuff too. God is working in our lives within our yucky stuff, just like he is working in yours.
God doesn’t wait until you have it all patched back together, or until you have yourself all figured out before He starts working. You just show up. He does the fixing.
If you are one of those parents who is parenting a child who has some extra tough stuff, whether it’s autism or medical issues or sexual acting out or attachment issues or something that has no name…please know we are here in the trenches along with you. I know. I get you. I admire you for sticking it out.
Consider this the hand outstretched if you needed it today. I am reminding you what God promises,
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.”
Because sometimes that can be the one thing that keeps you going.
On mornings that are ugly.
If you liked this blog, you might also enjoy: For the Mom at the Slide: When Parenting is Frighteningly Hard and check out my Special Needs Parenting Resource Page.