It’s amazing the things you consider as perfectly logical in times of complete chaos. Especially when it’s your child. Like moving out of state. Or changing your name.
You quit holding your breath in anticipation – hoping he’ll bring home that good grade. You stop assuming that the words that are coming out of his mouth are the truth. You cease to care what others think about you and your child because their judgment comes from a place of ignorance and misunderstanding. You assume that those who you reach out to in desperation may give you a few minutes, or a few days, or a few phone calls, but you know from history that they eventually will cease to become interested and involved – just like all the others. They have their own problems.
You’ve exhausted your resources. All the “help” you thought was out there … isn’t there. It’s that awful day you realize … it’s just you.
And that’s not said in a pitiful, self-serving way. Believe me, I’ve been called that, but I pay no mind. Those people have no idea. They have no idea the mountains I have climbed for this child. They have no idea the options I have had to consider and the decisions I have had to make. The conversations I never thought I’d have with people I never thought I’d have to talk to. The stones I have overturned in the search for answers.
Second to the death of a child, watching a child suffer and deteriorate before your eyes is a parent’s greatest pain. It suffocates your every waking moment like a deadly, odorless gas no matter how hard you try to gasp for real air. It ages you physically when you look in the mirror and see the bags under your eyes, the gray hairs you haven’t bothered to cover, and the body you haven’t had the will to exercise in months.
This is the part of parenting they don’t prepare you for. "You'll have some rough times," the books say. "They turn the corner eventually," they predict. You don't see that corner coming, though. You’re that small percentage they don't cover in the books, because it was assumed you had it under control. You were a good mom, they thought. You raised them right, they thought. You seemed like you had it all together, they thought.
So did you. Until you see your child in a place that you’ve only read about. And when you do read about it, and realize it’s your kid, you thought, “Wow. I must have been working off of the wrong damn manual. Because I’ve somehow really screwed up here.”
Again I ask, how far would you go for your child? My answer? As far as it takes. Unfortunately, “as far as it takes” has consequences for your own life. Your own job. Your own livelihood, your own relationships and potentially your own future. Your own happiness. And that of your entire family.
It’s the most helpless of all feelings. It’s the loneliest of all feelings. It’s wracking your brain and reading the books and surfing the Internet for one more place to call; one more thing to try – and finding you’re out of ideas.
Hope and prayer only go so far. This world is an evil place, and for a kid like mine, a virtual landmine of bombs just waiting to be stepped on – by someone with very unsure footing.
The day he realizes that it’s OK to be different – it’s the different people who do the great things in this world. The day he looks in the mirror and likes what he sees, and sees my reflection staring back at him, a proud Mom who would go as far as it takes for a child she loves more than life itself.