Friday, July 26, 2013

Moms Forget

Moms tend to forget. I'm not talking about missed appointments and forgetting where they put their car keys. These things happen to all of us, especially when we get busy with life.

What I'm talking about is how moms sometimes forget that their child has a hidden disability, things like autism, fetal alcohol, mental illness. You would almost forgive a stranger for not understanding why our children may have a meltdown. After all, there are some kids who act out because they have really bad parents. Maybe the child needs more discipline, or attention, or better limits. We moms of children with hidden disabilities know otherwise. We know that the noise, a smell, a sore throat, or a hundred other triggers can send our kids into unbelievable states. We know that the response to some behaviors needs to be opposite to what is natural in normal parenting. Our instinct is to punish, or yell, or have a fit ourselves. But we take a deep breath, and try to diffuse the bomb. We understand that some of our kids sometimes "can't" hold it together, even though their behavior screams "won't."

But sometimes we forget.

We have a stretch of calm, when our children are regulated, and all is well with the world. We build routines, take our children to therapy, practice parenting strategies, and lead an almost normal life. We see the gifts that our children bring to the world, their talents, their empathy, their smiles, and their love.  Moms are great at seeing their children as awesome people who are better than average. We forget our children have challenges that are bigger than most adults could handle.

And then everything hits the fan, usually when we least expect it. We are thankful when it happens at home, and are dismayed when it happens in public. Yesterday, we had a public display of dysregulation after nearly a month of calm. The month of calm had lulled me into lowering my guard in some ways, though I was still raw emotionally. I thought that Ms. D was healing. So yesterday's emotional display at In & Out was especially distressing to one of my older daughters and me.  I was shocked, though I shouldn't have been. FASD doesn't just go away.

I love Ms. D so much, so sometimes I forget.

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