When you’re the mother of a child with special needs, it often feels like it’s you and your child against the world. It’s hard to go anywhere or do anything when you don’t have a clue when the next meltdown will occur. It’s hard to endure the looks of strangers when the meltdown does occur, and people assume that your kid is a brat. It’s hard to feel frustrated with your child, while also feeling guilty because no one else gets him the way you do, and it’s hard to continue to be patient, day in and day out.
I often wonder if I should say something to people, to try to explain his behavior. But then I realize that I don’t even have all the answers to be able to explain. More importantly, I owe them nothing. What should I care if a stranger wants to raise their eyebrows and judge me on my parenting skills when they know nothing of my life? So, I stay focused on my son and on doing whatever it is he needs to be soothed.
Sometimes we get into a groove and things are wonderful. We recently spent a good two months of bliss as behaviors improved and meltdowns became less frequent. Life was normal rather than a battleground. And then regression hit. Back to meltdowns, escape maneuvers, sensory induced freak-outs, and aggression. Back to every single hygeine habit being a giant battle, not eating, and mood swings galore.
Days like today are hard. I fight an internal battle to stay patient and understanding when all I want to do sometimes is cry or take a day off. But, mommies don’t get a day off!
So, I get through it, often one minute at a time. And then I tuck my beautiful son into bed and listen as his breathing evens out. I feel his little arms wrapped tightly around mine and hear him whisper one last “I wove you mommy” as he drifts off to sleep, and all is right with the world.
My son does not have an official diagnosis yet, other than high anxiety. That doesn’t matter. A diagnosis will be helpful, but it won’t define him, and it won’t change our relationship in any way. I love him, and he loves me, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.