It amazes me how much we take upon our shoulders. Most of the time no one would know. We make sure the pictures we put on Facebook & social media portray a happy life, the perfect hair, the funniest scenarios, selfies with big smiles for days. In reality, we are all struggling and not just with one or two things; multiple things..every. single. day.
I’ll be the first to tell you I was beyond glad for 2015 to be over with. 2015 was filled with a lot of hurt, anger, fear and self-preservation for my family and I. Parenting was at it’s most challenging, my career changed for the better but not without consequence and my marriage was challenged, friendships failed and my self-view was the worst I’ve seen.
These are not things that need to be on social media. They are not even things I knew how to deal with on my own, let alone with others. These are the things that make us all feel so alone and singled out, but in reality, every one of us is dealing with a certain amount of these stresses and emotions. In the past few months I’ve realized, it’s all in how you address them and purge them.
Charlie and I spent close to six months of the year telling Timothy’s teachers that he was NOT Autistic. That he was NOT challenged. They told us he was acting out. He didn’t want to participate. He wouldn’t listen. He didn’t know his alphabet or numbers. They kept pushing us to get him evaluated for ADD or Autism or even learning disabilities. Charlie and I knew they were wrong. In my gut, deep down in my soul, I knew he was not. But every time it was brought up, or he didn’t something that “might have been on the Autism Spectrum”, we doubted inside. This almost tore my marriage apart. It almost kept us from having more children we were so struck with guilt from our times of doubt and sadness at the thought that no one else would believe in our beautiful, bright boy.
Our pediatrician found nothing wrong with him. NOTHING. Then we decided to take him to the ENT. Turns out, there was something wrong. Timothy’s ears were completely impacted with wax to the point you couldn’t even see his eardrums anymore. He did have something wrong, our amazing, almost 3 year old couldn’t hear anything but murmurs.
Two weeks later, after drops, we finally had it all removed. We saw an improvement in behavior and speech almost immediately. Then the worst thing possible happened. I received a call from his daycare. They had lost him. Timothy had somehow gotten away from his one-on-one and other teachers and was found on the corner of a busy intersection by a parent. Again they blamed Timothy and his need for evaluation.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such rage in my life. I just sat there and let them yell at me and tell me how bad it “could have been”. Tell me that it was my child that wasn’t a fit for their “school” and that I needed to “get him checked out for issues” and that he was no longer allowed to attend the school. I sat there holding my vibrant, beautiful boy and I just breathed and prayed. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I felt like a terrible mother for not standing up for him. For not screaming at those two women. For not telling them to take their judgments and eat them. But instead, there was a voice inside me that said, “If you do that, no good will come of it”. So I just sat there and took it. After they were done scolding us, Timothy and I walked to his cubby and gathered his things. Then with tears in my eyes and his hand in mine, we walked out of that school and I vowed to never set foot there again.
I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. I made my call and reported the school and the incident to the state and it was done. I didn’t want to re-address it, I didn’t even want to drive by the school. I was angry at them and myself, but I needed it to be over.
Through the ashes of this came a referral for a most wonderful woman who runs a daycare in her home. In just a few short months, Timothy is excelling like crazy. From 4 and 5 word sentences to singing along to the radio with me. No more running away. He’s playing with the other kids and asking questions. He is Timothy again. He is in a place that believes in him. I prayed for this. God answered.
I could go on about everything from financial troubles, to the poor management that chipped away at my self-worth and confidence for years, to even my daily struggles with self-image and mindless overeating. But let’s be honest, It’s 12:13am and tomorrow will be another day to look our struggles in the eye, stick to our guns and take them on one-by-one.
In the end, sometimes you just need to say a prayer, purge the hurt and then smile; because you’re ok. Tomorrow is a new day.