“Mommy, what do think when you see my bus coming down the street?” Michael asked me this question yesterday after school.
“I think there comes my little boy! I’m so glad he is home! What do you think when you see me waiting for you?” I asked him.
Michael paused a second, smiled and answered. “I don’t think of anything Mommy. When I see you, I know I am home.”
Well ladies, you can imagine. My heart just about melted. I have had a rough patch with Michael over the winter months with some aggressive behaviors against me and himself, and just general fighting, testing and unhappiness from both of us. I always tried to welcome him home with a smile, even during those testing months when there were times I was not happy to see him, but worried about his reaction, my reaction, our fighting. I questioned, yet again, why I would be the best person to raise this complex child. I would feel grateful that I had my faith in God, and often would pray for patience, for strength, and, like in the early days before Michael was diagnosed, for God to lead me to the right people to help my son and me learn from our mistakes and move forward. As always, God didn’t let me down. Our Psycho Educator, my good friends at my support group, and a wonderful book came in my life.
A very dear friend of mine calls this man jokingly her “Guru”, and now I feel like he is mine too. It is an amazing book, and the most incredible thing, prior to Michael’s relapse into behaviors, I had been doing most of what he suggested in the book to have a good relationship with my child. This book, by the way, is geared to all types of families, not specifically those with exceptional children. It’s called “Hold On To Your Kids-Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate. Children need to know that they can tell us anything, do anything, and that they will be safe. Unconditional love and acceptance is what they need from us. I still have trying moments with Michael, but I find that the more I show him I am there to meet his needs, give him my full attention and quality time, the more I can go back to parenting by my instinct. I am remembering what worked between us when he was a child, the games, the jokes, the rough housing. And my little boy has come back to me! This book has wonderful suggestions about re-establishing the parent/child bond, which he believes is responsible for a lot of the stress young people and their families face today.
Attachment to me has also reminded me how important it is to live in the moment in all our relationships, beginning with our selves. I check in now with me to see how I am feeling, acting, reacting. I see how I need to make more time for other important relationships in my life, my husband, my parents, my brother. We’re all so busy, but life passes us by, and unless we take the time to prioritize what really matters, we and society will suffer. If you are struggling in your relationships Exceptional Moms, particularly with your Exceptional Children, I highly recommend reading this book. Balance comes from changes in how we relate to each other, ourselves and the world around us. Good luck on your journey. Until next time.