My daughter is now in her third living arrangment in three weeks. Slime ball dumped her and she is at leastnow staying in a place with electricity and water.My husband hears the updates on her life from crew members. We hear nothing at all from our daughter.
It is time to separate ourselves from the drama. (have I mentioned I detest drama?)
Our focus needs to be helping our sixteen year old cope with all the changes in his life.
Cope with change is not something he readily does.
In the past week I found both he and his nearly twenty year old brother were eating spoiled watermelon. It was yellow and slimy in spots,and still they ate it. They did not notice what was very apparent. I think this demonstrates their difficulties with real life. They do not see what could be potentially harmful;even when it is glaringly obvious to those around them.
Yesterday in a fit of total frustration with his refusal to do any of his schoolwork I sent my younger son to clean his room. His big brother has moved across the hall into their sister’s old room (yet another change) and his room was a mess and smelled bad.When I went upstairs to check on cleaning progress, I found my son lying face down in the middle of the floor. It was heartbreaking. He is so overwhelmed by life he could not clean up his own room.
I did what I did when he was much younger and sat on his bed giving him one step instructions until his room was clean.
(in the process nearly twenty pairs of my husband’s socks,a teeshirt,and a pair of his underware were excavated and returned to their rightful owner. I also found all my missing dish towles and three bath towels-one of which I have never seen before in my life.) I went back to parenting him as I did when he was six to eight and he relaxed down.
This evening he draped himself on my husband just like he did when he was little. We used to joke dad was wearing a R—— coat back then. It is a much bigger coat now.
I am doing as many of the old comfort things for both boys (and right now they are boys) I used to do. This mostly involves food. My younger son has always been comforted by food. When they were small they often begged or trash picked for their meals. They also ate mud cookies like those in Hatie do when food is scarce.
I have been baking up a storm. I have also been making sure all old spoiled food is thrown in the compost so no one gives themselves food poisoning.
Back to the beginning.
My twenty year old has settled into his new room and is drawing. This is a good sign. He is depressed but seems to be coping better than his brother. Unfortunately for him, he lost his computer to my office (bedroom). For giving it it to his brother to use while restricted. He is now limited to the tiny screen of his I Pod for electronic diversion. I hate to tell him, but I am not above turning off the router and moving that into my room if I catch his brother watching the tiny screen with him. As angry as they get with me,I have to maintain consistancy. If I do not, I have removed yet another suport they depend on. I show my grace by cookies and homemade bread and fresh fruit cleaned and easily accessable; just as I did their first year home.
I show my understanding by once more giving simple, one step instructions and walking beside my son as he complies,redirecting when he gets lost in his own brain.
I was already burned out with intensive parenting before this summer. It has been kind of a lousy year or two. I know I blew it earlier by letting my hurt and frustration show.
Back to the begining-again.
Still, neither I nor my husband regret -even for a moment- the day these no longer children came home. We are much richer having them in our lives.
It is just we wish we could have somehow made more things better. We wish ten years might have overcome what can not be overcome. You see, while love may not be enough to overcome brain damage and neglect and abandonment, it is all we have to offer. We love our children. We grieve with them. We grieve for them. Their futures forever limited by organic brain damage and faulty reasoning.
But regret that they are our children?
Not even for a moment.
Please do not ask me how we plan to navigate this next phase of life with FASD and ARND.
I haven’t a clue.