See these water balloons?


This is what we do for today’s attachment therapy.

How awesome is this?

Aaron, our therapist, has been working with our family for several weeks now. He comes two or three times a week for a couple hours per session. He meets with our son and he meets with Mike and me to work on parenting techniques.

Most important, Aaron is available by phone for times when our son is nearing a rage, and if it gets bad enough, Aaron will come out to the house during one of our son’s rages for crisis intervention.

We are learning de-escalation techniques. This is amazing and exhausting. Aaron’s methods are nothing like what we’ve been taught in the many classes we’ve taken before.

Today, after a short check-in with our son we invite the neighborhood kids over and have a huge water balloon fight in the cul-de-sac.

Our son is doing extremely well.Water Balloon Therapy|The Holy Mess

No huge rages. None.

There are issues here and there, of course. We get stomping, rolled eyes, and back-talk. We are still highly structured. He wouldn’t last a day in at typical home or classroom.

But we are making progress. Dear God, we are making progress! Thank you, Jesus. I will cling to it and praise to the high heavens.

I don’t care that it’s only been 2 days. I don’t care that this is a tiny space of progress on the calendar. I don’t care that other people would see this behavior as horrible. I will take it.

I will take it. We are making it.

What it really shows is that our son is trying.

He cares. I believe he wants to get well.

Yesterday I take my son with me to run an errand and let him get out and help me pump gas. He’s done this once or twice before. We have to restart the credit card part when he pushes “Debit” instead of “Credit” even though I specifically tell him twice which one to push.

Then, once the gas is pumping, he is fidgeting, looking all over and touching everything. He flips the metal piece where the gas nozzle goes back into the machine, shutting the gas off and shutting down the transaction when the tank is only a quarter full.

I don’t yell at him. I just say, “Okay, get in the car. I’ll get gas later.” I think this has more impact than anything I could have said. My son is quiet.

As we drive home, he asks, “Mom, why do I touch everything all the time? I try not to!”

We’ve had this conversation before, about ADHD, his brain, prematurity and his life story. We talk about how he is a good kid who sometimes makes wrong choices.

Regardless, it sucks for him.

I see him trying. As much as he is down on himself for the situation, it’s the first time in awhile that I’ve seen remorse. When he was younger I saw remorse all the time. It’s been lost to us lately.

These days, he’s been just mean. Scary-mean.

When our son had an evaluation at the emergency room for mental health, one of the questions that caught me off guard was when the nurse asked if he had empathy for others. I said I wasn’t sure. When he was younger, I know he did.

Lately, I’ve not been sure.

He’s a selfish person, and I say that without unkindness. It’s a statement of fact. He does only think of himself.

This is about survival. Making it takes every ounce of his energy, and I believe he has nothing left in reserve to consider others.

When we try to teach him about empathy and considering the feelings of others, like in therapy, it flies over the radar. He can be incredibly kind, sweet, and loving — at times in ways that are not the least bit manipulative. It just does not have a depth of feeling or understanding that it might have with other people.

But we will keep trying.

Two good days and a water balloon fight. I’ll take it.

Still StandingStill Standing|The Holy Mess

Bible Verse

But Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Hebrews 3:6

Journal Prompt

We all need more fun in our lives. Laughter is healing! Write 3 ways you can bring more laughter and love to your family this week.


Water Balloon Therapy|The Holy Mess

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