What is it about perspective that allows us to form opinions about our situation? If we are experiencing trauma, our perspective can be fraught with pain. If we are looking at another person's situation, perspective can elicit feelings of empathy, or jealousy or pity. When we arrive at the other end of that journey, our perspective has now become that of someone arriving at a destination.
My perspective has changed. I had a beginning - lots of beginnings. That's my perspective now. I look and see there were lots of beginnings. How did we make it through those beginnings? There were lots of very difficult places to be in. Why was there so much trauma? And pain? I always think that we somehow got the short end of the stick. People always say "he was so blessed to get parents like you.". That's very kind. I don't feel blessed. I feel tortured. My perspective in those beginnings was that it was never going to end. He was never going to get better. He was going to beat the hell out of our house and our family unit.
I'm in the middle now. But there are constantly new beginnings in this middle. My perspective now is that there are still beginnings in this middle. Some are good and some not so good. We got the dreaded call that he might be sent back to detention (that's juvenile hall for you newbies). That's not a place you want your son to be. He's being well taken care of right now. There are people that understand his neurological and medical needs. He's watched 24 hours a day and he's held accountable by his peers in the program. No other placement will have that kind of set up.
Super Hero and I were on our way to visit him this morning. We get one visit a week - an hour of time. We were about 15 minutes early, so I said we should stop at a Starbucks and get him a hot chocolate with a gift card I had. The store I thought was there had closed, so we had to pull into the parking lot of a nearby mall. I noticed a message on my phone. "Your visit has been cancelled. He's on a safety plan." We were five minutes from the residence. I could not get hold of anyone on a Saturday. We started to drive back home when someone finally responded to a message I left. Holland had "gone from zero to one hundred in a few seconds. He responded to a peer about something and threw a glass across the kitchen and picked up other things and threw them as well." I will not get any more information until his therapist calls me on Monday. He was able to call and talk to me for his five minutes of allowed phone call time. He sounded depressed. He didn't think he was going to last another week. Didn't see the point of it. How do you encourage a child that sees no point of continuing such a hard path? He made bad choices. He is paying for those choices.
We have another new beginning. Super Hero got a part time job. He has been without a full time job for a year and a half. No engineering job. He had to take a part time job as an "inventory specialist" at a car rental place at the airport. I feel it must be so degrading for him to have done that. And yet I'm so proud of him for doing it. I want him to be honored for his choice to work to support us. And my new beginning is going to be finding a job as well. I've applied for an interpreter job for Portland Public Schools. With every ounce of my being I do not want to do this. I don't want the stress of working on top of homeschooling the kids and getting them to church and sports functions. Worrying about doctor appointments and grocery shopping and therapy appointments with Holland. Laundry will become something that gets put in a pile, not put away. I won't be able to work with the kids on school stuff the way I wanted to. Dinners will be crazy with Super Hero working 3pm -11pm 3 days a week.
To end all these beginnings, Holland had some testing done by an excellent psychologist. She has worked with over 300 kids affected in utero by meth. We finally got an 18 page report from her describing in detail the testing and the results. Her conclusion was the Holland is Autistic. The DSM has changed the language in how it diagnoses children. His is more a social aspect of autism. But reading this report was like reliving all the moments we had when he was growing up.
So what is my perspective now? How do I adjust my thinking from all those years of parenting a child that was improperly diagnosed as bipolar? What do I think when people complain that they can't have a "normal" life? What is normal? Not having hole punched in your wall? Not locking up remote controls or the pantry so your child doesn't get up at 3 in the morning to play the wii or steal food with gluten in it? What about not being afraid of your child? Or not having your other children afraid of that child? What about being able to go to a store without having to leave a grocery cart in the middle of an aisle because he couldn't handle the word "no". And he was 12 (and threatening to hit you?) What about having to change plans - the whole family - because your "bipolar" child refuses to get in the car and go sightseeing? He wants to stay home and wait for a friend that might call. I have a hard time with perspective. Our lives are definitely "easier" now that he is not living with us. It's calmer here. There's less tension of feeling like someone is going to get physically hurt. But how can that perspective be good? I have a child that doesn't get to live at home. Other families get to eat dinner together. Or go on trips together. I have a hard time even taking a family picture. My perspective is that someone is missing.
I raised three children and now I only have two.