We had battled all day. The clock had outlasted my patience. He was in tears. I was in tears. Frustrated and angry, my heartbeat seemed to be in my ears. My face felt numb and a headache had spread from the base of my neck to my temples. This was not the first day of the week that looked like this. Odds are it would not be the last either. This was just one battle in a war that had a distinct beginning, but no end in sight. Exhaustion spread through my body, but sleep was not an option. In the quiet stillness of the dark, the day’s events would replay. The ways I blew it enumerated one by one. Prayers for a better day tomorrow, which seemed to be a part of my nightly routine, seemed to be answered and unanswered within the first hour of the next morning. I was angry at the situation, I was angry at the boy. I was angry at God. But mostly, I was angry at me for being unable to find a way to fix us.
To the Mom of an injured child, I see you. I see you trying to act like everything is normal so that acquaintances and strangers don’t pass judgment on your child because they only see the behaviors without knowing the pain that causes them. I appreciate the embarrassment of wondering if you are being judged as a good mother. I know the pain of thinking, “No, no, I’m not.”
I see you turning down social engagements because you are unsure of what kind of day you will be having. I see you pulling away from friends because you are just too exhausted to leave the house.
I understand the guilt you feel on the days you are unsure if you can do this another day. I know it is hard to balance the compassion you feel for your child with the difficulty of hard days. I understand how you begin to doubt if there is any good in you at all when you look at a child and wonder why you can’t stop being angry with them. I appreciate questioning if your child can even do the things you are asking them to do. I appreciate questioning if you can handle it if they can’t. I understand the self-loathing you feel because the only job in the world that matters to you is mothering these children, and at the end of each day you feel you not only failed the child who needs you most, but ignored the ones who didn’t demand your attention, but needed you just the same.
I appreciate your questioning God, “WHY?” I know the pain of feeling alienated when the answers are not coming when you want them. I recognize the look of stress from pouring over every book on your child’s diagnosis, talking to therapists after therapists and knowing healing will only come from the hand of God. And I see you again asking God, “Why?”
I see the pain in your eyes when your child is “that child” one day, and the relief in your eyes when you make it through a public event without incident the next. I see your anxiety after that good day, knowing every ounce of restraint and will-power your child has was exhausted in good behavior and when you get home there will be a price for the public compliance.
I understand the fear in the wondering how you will make it through the day, much less to eighteen. I know you question how this will translate in adult years. I know you wonder what the future holds. I know you hide in the bathroom of your own home so your family can’t see you crying.
I know you love with a strength you never knew you had. I know you seek joy in every victory. I understand you intercede gladly for your child, wishing her pain was yours to bear alone. And I know, even on the hard days, when you are lying in bed at night defeated, you will gladly awake the next morning and do it all again, because you love him that much.
I see you, because I am you. I know. And I am here.