I have an eleven year old now. I’d ask where did the time go, but it feels short and long all at the same time. We are in the middle of the journey, helping to shape, helping to mold, helping to guide, and it feels like it, it feels like we worked so hard to get here and we will have to work even harder over to get through the teenage years. This 11 year old is a blessing, and in ways he won’t understand. He is the baby we begged for, hoped for, crossed our fingers for after my first pregnancy ended during the second trimester. He helped make us parents, he helped heal the hurt, and he was a very real blessing. He has also been a challenge to parent from the very beginning. He came into the world via forceps because his heart rate dropped so low they just had to get him out. Ever since it has been something. I feel like God said you want a kid-I will give you a kid.
Having him was baptism through fire, and if you ever thought you had it together as a parent this kid will surely knock you down a few pegs and let you know that you do not. You never did, you never will, and the moment you are getting the hang of it, he will change things up so your parenting ego doesn’t get too inflated. It has its benefits not a lot phases me anymore, I know my kids have their own distinct personality which doesn’t have anything to do with my parenting. I have kids that like rules and order, and I have kids that don’t at all-not even a little.
The phone rings in the middle of the day, and I look down to see it is the school. Immediately my shoulders tense, a weight feels like it has been placed across them, and I briefly wonder: If I don’t answer it does that mean the problem doesn’t exist? Of course, I answer it because answer it or not I will have to hear about it. These phone calls want me to come to the office to talk about my son’s behavior, the teacher wants to basically vent because my son is disrupting their class and has all year, the reward program we had in place isn’t working, he lost his math book, he hasn’t started his science project that is due next week, he used writing time to type the letter 1 for four pages instead of writing, and the list goes on in a varied but similar fashion.
When I talk to him later the answers, the responses, and the whys are far more frustrating than the incidents. I was bored, it doesn’t matter what I do because I get in trouble anyway, they care more about if I am quiet than if I am learning, I was just sticking up for my friend, I am just a jerk, I am a bad kid, I don’t care, nothing ever changes so why does it matter, and the list goes on. This is the heartbreaking part. The part where I alternate being sad and being angry. He speaks truth and he lacks the wisdom to see the whole picture. If ever a kid had a support system this kid does. He knows for a fact that his parents, especially his Dad, will do anything to help him. That doesn’t mean we will do it for him, and that is what makes it so frustrating. He wants it handed to him on a silver platter, he wants it to be made easy, but it just isn’t, and for him, it never will. There are reward systems, there are breathing techniques, mind breaks, alternatives to walking around, talking out, and butting in that have been taught to him, and still here we are. It moves from school to home and self that is so hard because he internalizes it and wears it and it weighs him down.
He sees a therapist. We are starting to consider medicine. Every single person we meet is worried about middle school. It is one of the first things out of their mouths these days. Once he starts to fail or flounder in middle school it will be hard to stop. We need to set him up for success from day one. They all want him to succeed. They give him many chances, they spend a lot of time worrying, they want a fix and a change, but it won’t be that quick. Even with medicine it won’t be that easy. He is smart. Very smart. This is part of what frustrates people me included. Imagine what you could do if you put that energy toward something positive? But, he is the hardest on himself. The negative self-talk is strong, which starts the cycle of this mom worrying all over again. Wanting him to see his worth.
Yesterday was his birthday. It was a rough day for him. He got in trouble at school, I got a phone call, he had to stay after with the principal, and it just seemed to build. Not exactly how you want to spend your birthday. When he got home I gave him a card from his Pappy. After he read it he started to cry a little. He wanted to call his Pappy right away. I read it. It suited the day. It reminded him there are good days, and it acknowledged the truth that he has bad days, but still he needs to believe in himself, we believe in him, and he is special. It wasn’t long, but it reached him where needed to be reached. I am grateful for the relationship he has with his grandparents, his dad, and a select handful of other adults who see him for the entirety of who he is. It will be a difficult road, but hopefully with love and support he will make it through relatively unscathed and with the knowledge that he is loved.