3/6/07

Learning What They Live

Guilt.
It's a dish I serve myself regularly. Many people do. I think when you become a mother it's how you feed yourself. You're so busy not sleeping and eating an actual meal, that you learn to glean some sort of nutritional value from it.

I have found that since adding another offspring, my guilt has doubled. When Connor floundered for a year or so before we got him the help he needed, before we got a diagnosis, guilt was a sort of comfort food.
I would feel guilty when I would acknowledge that Gracie was "typical", but Connor was not. I would feel guilty when he had meltdowns. I would feel guilty when, during his meltdowns, I would become so insanely frustrated, that I would have a meltdown right alongside Connor. I would feel guilty that I could find so much comfort in the "typical" nature of Gracie, but could not find that comfort in Connor. I love both of the kids for their own unique spin on things. But easy-going, relaxed, and "typical" were so much more comforting than high-strung, highly-frustrated, and seemingly angry.

The two best things we ever have done for Connor were to get him into the behavioral clinic at our local children's hospital and get him on Melatonin. I swear that Rav, Connor & I didn't sleep for 4 full years. Imagine how that must feel when you're brain processes information "normally"....let alone, when your processes are a little bit different than everyone else's. Melatonin did what we tried to for years. It put Connor to sleep at night. And it kept him asleep.
And behavioral clinic taught us the wonderful strategies of effective behavior modification. Rav & I put a lot of time and work into this. And we soon saw results.
The more educated we became about how Connor's mind, emotions and behaviors worked things made a lot more sense. I actually began to understand my son and not feel so guilty.

I've struggled with how to handle others not understanding Connor. And that would bring on more guilt. My heart would rip open and bleed when I would see muddled faces of confusion, furrowed eyebrows, the throwing of the hands in the air, the quick looks shot at others like "what the ?".

As I've grown to understand more and more about how things work with Connor, I have, in turn, come to expect more from myself, from Rav, from our little family unit. I expect us to rise to the challenges and learn to adapt and grow in new, exciting ways. And in doing so, I've noticed that I become less understanding of people who are not understanding of Connor. I have high expectations of people around us, his teachers, his team at school that oversees his special needs, his doctors, his friends, my friends, family, and ourselves.



Connor is such a brilliant personality and I delight in watching his light shine. He is heartfelt, he loves with wild abandon, he is thoughtful to a fault, he is tender and kind. And funny.
I feel so for him because as a person who is grossly misunderstood myself, I sometimes see his roads mapping out in similar fashions as mine have. Rather than see all of the rough, beautiful qualities - it seems as if it is easier to see the coarse, misunderstood qualities. It is easier to toss the idea aside that he is good.

I don't really know the aim of this post or what exactly it is I was truly trying to say.

I guess I just feel for the people who can't see what a treasure he truly is.
While Gracie's treasures are there for all to see and those treasures are easier to get at, Connor's treasures require a bit more work. They are there - all of the time. But as we all go along, we'll see those who truly aim to understand, accept and love Connor for all that he is and those who simply just resign themselves to never being able to understand nor wanting to.

And man, are they ever missing out.

3 ripples in the pond:

Oh, The Joys said...

Because he is the way he is, only the people who really care to know him will find the diamond in the rough - and they will be just the right people, the best people, the most loving - and they will reap their reward.

Slackermommy said...

Very sweet. You know I got kids like Connor, in particular my oldest. I know what you mean about the guilt. Here lately I've been feeling guilty that I tend to favor my oldest I think because of her issues. I'm trying way to hard to protect her from the big bad world. But you know what? She's navigating it way better than I thought she would.

deb said...

I think slackermommy is right, our children our stronger than we know. As for you, high expectations are an invitation to disappointment, this I know from experience and yet I also struggle with letting go of them.
Connor will be fine, he has a family that loves him and you will have to trust him and trust yourself, to know that he will be okay.
As for others not seeing what you see in him, that's their loss. It's hard sending children out into the world. We only want the best for them and the world doesn't love them as we do.