This post is both a confession and a request; an exhausted moment of surrender and a prayer. It’s also just a flawed human, trying to work through her own feelings of inadequacy and anger.
We are fortunate to belong to the YMCA. And they have a program for kids with special needs called Full Circle, which hosts a summer long camp. Every Monday through Friday from 9-1pm.
James is not particularly found of camp (except the swimming part) so our morning drop off is usually a mix of bargaining and wrestling covered in frustration.
This morning, it reached an all-time low, or high I suppose, and I was losing.
I gave James an extra “five minutes” to agree that it was time to walk into camp. And then another five minutes, and then another. Finally, out of options, I tried to give him a piggy back ride to the picnic table.
Somewhere in the struggle, he thrashed himself with enough force to get out of my grip.
His head slammed against the hard plastic of the wheel well, with a very loud thump. I gasped, then grabbed his arms and in a voice, I didn’t even know was inside of me said, “James you MUST walk into camp NOW!” He stuck his lower lip out. I checked for blood. And he walked in.
It scared me how quickly I went from zero to sixty.
But then again, did I really? Or was this a very slow build up that’s been happening for months and just now decided to blow, like lava out of a active volcano. As I cried on the way home, what I felt was fear and grief. Fear that I will not be able to physically handle James as he gets bigger and stronger, and grief that I will even have to worry about such things!
I wanted to break into Maggie’s Moo’s and devoure the Cotton Candy Ice cream,
but I have to play at the Beirhaus tonight so I didn’t think getting arrested was a good idea. So, I did the next best thing. I called a friend. As I cried, she said, “Lynn, parenting is hard and you need to get some new tools in your tool belt to handle this next stage of James’ life.”
I got to thinking about Handy Manny. Manny is one of James’ favorite characters. He is the “Mr. Fix-it” guy for his tribe and he has an arsenal of tools that help him fix anything that might come up. He’s not ashamed to ask for help. He’s not worried that the job won’t get done. He just gets the RIGHT tool for the task at hand. And he and his tools go to work on it. In the end, the broken bridge or the impossible situation is fixed and able to be crossed.
I have a friend who’s struggling right now with a very hard codependency issue. From my perspective, she doesn’t yet have enough tools in her belt to take care of herself. She needs therapy and support and more knowledge than she has at the moment. From where I sit – I see exactly what she needs in order to be able to move forward, without getting more bruised. And my friend on the phone this morning, well, she sees the same thing with me and James. She sees my inadequacy’s and knows I need help.
Why is it always so easy to see what someone else is lacking, but not what I’m lacking?
So, I’m tool shopping today. To those who have walked my journey, I’m all ears! Because I’m humbly saying,
“I’m tool-less and I could use a little help.”
(This is not to be confused with being ‘toothless’ of which I also was this week!)
Life is hard. Parenting is ridiculously hard. And codependency may be the hardest thing of all. I’m sad that ice cream cannot be a tool, and neither is fear or sitting and wishing the problem away.