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I really have no words for how difficult the last few weeks have been for our family.
Our son’s behavior has led to both a suspension and expulsion from his private preschool (although those words were never used and the school was ever-so-gracious about both). While we are well on our way to getting some help for him through a behavioral therapeutic day treatment program, he cannot start until the first week in October. This has left me at home with a very difficult child, who also is not sleeping well. It’s him and me against the big bad world – well, in reality more like him against me.
Several of the professionals and other concerned individuals have asked about my support network. And it’s hard to answer. Because I have a lot of emotional support. But sometimes, what I really need is someone to take him off my hands and give me a break. But most of my friends have kids in school or are homeschooling, my MIL works full time – and then there is the behavioral aspect which makes it difficult (if not even dangerous) for anyone else to keep him. Taking care of him requires a lot of physical strength (of which I feel like I’m lacking, but I do what I can). There’s lots of lifting, picking him up when he’s kicking and screaming, getting hugged and tugged on – and even hit and punched – constantly. It’s not like I can just ask anyone to deal with him.
He literally smashed my head in the fridge yesterday. I poked my head into the fridge to look for my soup and next thing I know, BAM, my head is smashed between the door and the edge of the fridge. It hurt. I screamed. Scared him half to death. I cried off and on for the rest of the afternoon.
So, it’s just been a lot to handle.
But I want to share some blessings – some real God moments – even before I get to all the pictures and beauty in the mess I normally share.
1. In August, I reconnected with someone I met in college (who found me through my blog series on legalism), who also just happened to have a son with special needs. While she is probably the very last person I ever expected I would be friends with, she has been there and let me vent and messaged to check up on me.
2. On September 9th, it was the birthday of our town’s Christian radio station. They were asking for people to share memories on their Facebook page, and the first comment was from a mom who said her son had special needs. Thinking that she might be interested in my upcoming blog series, I friended her. As it turns out, her son is currently in the same program that my son will be attending – graduating the week before he starts. She also has taken special care to check up on me and given me information to help with the admittance process.
3. On September 12, the day Ezra was finally asked to not come back his school, I was called to the school at 1PM to deal with a behavioral problem. I threw my computer in the car knowing that I wouldn’t bother coming back home with so little time left in the school day. When I told the school secretary that I was going to hit up a cafe, she asked, “Do you like Starbucks?” and reached into her purse and pulled out a $5 gift card. On what ended up being a very hard day (as I was called back from Starbucks to receive the bad news), it was still a very bright spot and one I will always treasure.
4. One of the boys from Ezra’s class at school, I found out had graduated from the same program Ezra will be attending earlier this year. I have connected with his mom and she, again, has been such a great resource for me, as well as encouragement. I texted her yesterday, she called, I broke down crying and she just let me and told me it was okay and normal and that she’d been there too.
5. Yet a 3rd friend of mine who I know from my moms group also had a child go through the program and has offered me hugs and encouragement through the process.
6. Some of my friends on Facebook have been sending me encouraging packages, including a ChickFilA gift card and an MP3 player for Ezra.
7. After a very desperate day yesterday, I was reminded of a conversation with Katie I had earlier this week about how she was planning on getting a family membership at the YMCA. While we don’t have the funds for a membership, I wondered if I could visit as a guest. I called the closest Y and found out that I can visit three times, as if I were a member who has all of the benefits of membership (including childcare), for FREE…three times per calendar year. You better believe I was there at 8:30 this morning. Ezra and I swam for about 45 minutes. Then I dropped him off in daycare and sat in in the community room, alone, by myself, drinking the free coffee that they also had out. I sat there for an hour just recouping, talking to my friends on FB and Voxer, and decompressing. I have two more FREE visits which I plan to use in this upcoming week while Ezra is between schools. And, the worker at the desk also told me that they offer discounted memberships and financial assistance, so that’s something to look at for the future!
Now, for your regularly scheduled Beauty in the Mess…
There is beauty in Salami Eyes.
And boys who fall asleep during “lunch” after grocery shopping:
There is beauty in playing hookie from church and taking your son on one last mommy-son date of the summer, back before school started:
Um, no real words for this. But when you have to wait over an hour in a small room with an almost four-year-old to see the allergist, you say yes to exercises involving stirrups.
There is beauty in new workout clothes. Because, even when my waistline keeps expanding (thank you, Stress), I can still keep trying. (And if a new shirt makes me feel a little bit better about myself, then that’s what I’ll do.) #bathroomselfie #sorry #notreally
There is beauty in celebrating the five days (in a row!) that I didn’t get any phone calls from school. Obviously, it didn’t last, but still, it’s something.
There is beauty in the everyday fun that these boys get into:
There is beauty in these moments when we are waiting for yet another evaluation…knowing that all of this hassle will be worth it once we are finally getting this boy the help he needs.
There is beauty in getting a makeover, courtesy of a 4-year-old.
There is beauty in yet another failed attempt at getting Ezra to enjoy a sensory bin, in which he spent 5 minutes outside getting eaten alive by mosquitos and Banangrams got lost in the crack on the porch…but the lighting was nice, so there’s that!
There is beauty in a boy, in a basket, with a toothbrush. Because…um…#cuteness.
There is beauty in a (not-so) balanced breakfast in a stolen moment alone in my car:
There is beauty in Chickfila’s new Coffee With a Story. This coffee tells the story of one very tired mom running on faith and coffee.
There is beauty in saying yes to letting him play with all the sticky tabs because it means you can lie on the couch for another ten minutes.
There is beauty in stolen computer moments at Monkey Joes – between assists in inflatables, grabbing coffee, and referree-ing behavioral spats.
There is beauty when Chickfila asks if you want sprinkles on your ice cream:
There is beauty in deciding at the last minute to stay in Greensboro for the rest of the day (meaning almost 10 hours away from home) and a visit to the children’s museum there, which was AMAZING and kept Ezra happy and occupied for several hours!
And there is beauty when he comes out on the pretend stage and says, “TADA!” – dressed in a cheerleader skirt and a monkey costume, just bursting with pride.
There is beauty in three successful hands of Uno before the cards got flung across the room:
There is beauty in behavior charts and visual schedules and a wipe-off board for social stories – all strategies to help us cope that have been working, at least some of the time!
There is beauty in the 10 minutes in which the bathroom sink serves as entertainment:
And there is beauty in the I’ve-lost-count-of-how-many trips to Chickfila, because it’s safe and familiar and gets us both out of the house for a while.