Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hey Mommy

It was a long day, and I was tired. Your older brother had ignored his chores and his homework, and I was frustrated. You were running around the playground when I got to daycare to pick you up. You ran into my arms, smiling. You started chattering the moment you saw me. I smiled at you, nodded my head. You chattered through putting your back pack on and as we walked to the car. You chattered as you helped me to buckle your car seat and as I wearily got into the car. You chattered as I drove the quarter mile home. I turned on the radio in an attempt to unwind, just a little. My day starts when you show up at my bedside, with your first "Hey Mommy" of the day. A million "Hey Mommy"s later I just needed a break. So I turned on the radio. Your older brother understands that I am frustrated with his choices. He wisely chose to read a book on the short drive home. I turn off the radio. It cannot compete for space in my brain, not with your chattering.

"Hey  Mommy. Hey Mommy. I am awake now. I am not going back to sleep. Can I have your phone?"

We pull into the driveway just as Daddy gets home. I open you car door and help you unbuckle but I wander away before you hop out. I turn on the oven, robotically moving into making dinner. My boys, all of you, vibrate, file, and trail in. A trail of backpacks, shoes, coats and mail depict your travels around the kitchen. Another school day, another 200 papers to sort through.

You run to your clipboard to check your treat. Your brother had told you that there was a "super cool" treat on your clipboard and you couldn't wait to check it out. Maybe the build up was too much, I don't know. You looked at the matchbox car attached to your clipboard and the melt down began. I took the car out of your hands before you threw it at one of us. Without a word I set it on the counter, ignored your screaming, and turned back to the task at hand- dinner. You stand in the doorway, crying for your car. And the dance begins. The car is given back to you. You throw it. It is taken away. You scream. We dance this way for a while, until I snap. The car is put up in a cupboard and you are sent to your room. You don't go though. You never do. I take a deep breath and sweep you up into my arms, kissing your sweaty little head. I move us into the family room and attempt a "time in". In theory you should be able to calm yourself down during this quiet time with Mommy. In real life, however, you continue to scream and kick at me. Sometimes we make it and sometimes we don't. This time we don't. I let the tension flow from my arms as I let you slide to the floor. Daddy scoops you up and half carries, half drags you to your room. Your screaming permeates the house. My heart melts into a puddle as you scream my name. I turn away from your brother as I work hard to concentrate on dinner and not on how my heart is breaking,. Hearing your child scream for you as though he feels he might never see you again is heartbreaking.

You are told you can come back downstairs when you are ready. The rest of your family sits down to dinner. A quiet dinner, each of us caught up in our own thoughts. Tasteless, sad, quiet, your empty chair sitting there, mocking me. If I am to be totally honest, this is not the family I dreamed of. At least not tonight.

"Hey Mommy. MykneehurtsandIneedanotherbandaiddidyouhangupthatpictureIpaintedwhyareyoudoingthatHeyMommyHeyMommyicancountto29Mommy..."

That was last night. This morning you appeared at my bedside at the crack of dawn, chattering away. If you remember last night you don't speak of it. I am amazed at how we can fight, you and I, and you don't seem to remember it the next day. No grudges, no lingering anger. Not on your part at least. I remember it all. Every kick. Every scream. Every tearful cry of "Mommy". It is etched on my heart forever.

You are not easy, my son. I feel as though every single thing we do is a struggle. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, getting out to the bus stop. You hop up the bus stairs as the bus driver greets you with his usual "Hi Smiley!". At least once a week he asks me, "Is he always this happy?" My answer today might have been a little harsh, but dude, you drive the bus to the special needs preschool. You should know. Things are not always as they seem.

After I get both you and your brother on your school buses I head out to the registrars office to sign you up for kindergarten. I sit in the hallway facing the open window while the school registrar reviews your paperwork and walks me through kindergarten. My mind wanders. You don't talk, you whine. You sing to yourself in the bathroom. You melt down on a pretty regular basis. You occasionally hurt your friends. Who am I kidding? You don't have any friends. You occasionally hurt other children who happen to be hanging out around you. You have, inexplicably, wet your pants three times over the past three weeks, all while on your way to the bathroom. You don't sleep, at least not enough. You take hours to eat, or you refuse to eat. You wander away from the dinner table. You have odd behaviors. I love you, and I will always love you, no matter how many times you rearrange the silverware or repeat the number "3" over and over to yourself. But others, out there in the world, they might not be so understanding. What I see simply as "Alex" others might label "weird". I am drained by the time I get back home. The thought of sending you to school terrifies me.

"Hey Mommy. I was playing with the other kids today and they made fun of me. Mommy, Hey Mommy, why?"

Daddy picks you up from daycare tonight and you show up in the kitchen, all smiles and sweetness. You eat your dinner as though you haven't eaten for days, sitting quietly in your chair and asking to be excused. You watch a little of your favorite movie, Hop, before I take you up to bed. We read books. We talk about your brain. We celebrate your smart choices. I relax as I lay on your bed next to you. I give you a goodnight kiss and walk to the door. You are on your feet already. And we dance again. I put you back to bed, cover you up. You kick off the covers and demand I cover you up again. Well hello crazy blanket game. We haven't seen you in a while.

"Hey Mommy cover me up!"  "Hey Mommy I need covered up!"

When your Daddy and brother return home from running an errand they find us back downstairs. Daddy takes you to bed, again. You scream, again. My heart shatters a little, again. My sensitive seven year old at first questions why his little brother is still up, annoyed at the unfairness of it all. My answer, "I don't know. I just can't.", must speak to him. He stops complaining about his brother's late bedtime and chooses to hug me instead.

I think sometimes that your particular brand of trauma is tricky, because you will have so many good days. Sure, your good days would make that Super Nanny woman from TV cringe, but in comparison to the chaos, your good days are awesome. And then the issues pop up and we are blindsided, again. I understand a little of what your mind is doing to you. After three years of living with you I am a little gun shy too. I feel as though I am always on edge, waiting for that other shoe to drop. So I get it, how you feel.

You have had a rough few days. You will cycle back up, I hope, as you usually do. You have more doctors to see and treatments to try. You have a lot to do this summer. Between therapy and doctors and kindergarten prep we will be busy. But right now I have to go to bed, because it is getting late, and you will be chattering your "Hey Mommy" into my sleeping brain before I know it.

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