It’s one of those moments. You know THOSE moments, don’t you? The ones where there’s so MUCH – so much to do, so much to decide, so much to process – that I am all but paralyzed by the cursor flashing on the blank screen.
It’s one of those moments when everything – every single thing – is overwhelming. When everything needs attention NOW. When major decisions are on the line. For EVERYONE.
When anxieties flare and like flaming dominoes, we set one another ablaze – a family of roman candles.
When every piece of information comes through a filter of fear and insecurity and My God, are we doing the right thing by EITHER of our kids?
It’s one of those moments when I sit in the neuropsych’s waiting room for two hours and watch the parade of kids march by. When the armor’s down and every story in the room seeps in. The little girl without words who is so obviously trying to communicate SOMETHING to her mom. The mom’s helpless expression as she hands her the worn laminated sheet of ten or so photographs to choose from. The frustration that bleeds into the room when it becomes obvious that ten photographs just isn’t enough. Or the boy performing verbal gymnastics in the room behind me – grunting and shrieking, then singing and grunting again. Or the girl who runs headlong into the couch. Again and again and again. The tired eyes around the room. The mom who looks at me and says with a hoarse laugh, ‘A margarita machine would really go over well here, don’t you think?’ The mom who goes to get a therapist to help her coax her daughter out of her hiding place. The sadness and resignation in what passes for a smile between us as she walks by.
When Brooke’s neuropsych - the doctor that I’d follow to the ends of the earth, the one who’s known her since the beginning, the one who calls her ‘sweetheart’ and means it, the one who talks about ‘our kids’ with a tenderness that makes me want to hug him - when he comes out of the first two hours of her evaluation and I brightly ask how she’s doing and he quietly responds that Well, she’s moved into a new test based on her age and Well, it’s a lot tougher for her, and Well, do I notice a high incidence of decontextual laughter? And Well, she really struggled with some parts, but don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time to talk as we move through the process and My God, all I can think – the only thought in my head – is HAVE WE FAILED HER?
When I read disappointment into his face. When I feel like he expected to see more progress – more something. And I think What are we missing? What haven’t we done? Have we been fooling ourselves? HAVE WE FAILED HER?
When I go home to try to explain it all to Luau and he asks me – perfectly reasonably, ‘Are you sure you’re not reading into it, babe? Are you sure that he was really saying any of that? Are you sure it wasn’t just what you were hearing?’ And I can’t honestly answer him because for God’s sake, I don’t know.
How do you remove the filter? How do you take away the fear? How do you soothe the insecurity when it comes to having to constantly be the final word on where and with whom and how and what your kid will take and learn and be fed or not fed and be exposed to and be treated by and how any or all of that might help mitigate the challenges that hang over her head EVERY GOD DAMNED DAY. And then you have to monitor it all and try to somehow magically discern whether or not it’s actually working or if perhaps some part of it is working but others aren’t and well – How do you remove that filter when the doctor that you’d follow to the ends of the earth is talking to you about your baby girl and you’re sure that the hidden message is that somewhere, somehow, in some way you’ve failed her?
And when that’s not even the whole picture because my big girl, my Katie is struggling – the one who is the super star, the kid that everything comes so easily to. But when suddenly a thread of anxiety is woven through every damn thing that she does. When it takes her weeks to confess that she’s having a hard time, that she’s feeling lonely. That she’s convinced that she’s different. That she doesn’t know where or how to fit in as her classmates’ interests change dramatically – and hers don’t. When we spend hours and hours over those weeks trying to untangle the jumble of emotions to get to her truth. When the journey to her emotional center takes me to my own. When we finally find the single, angst-colored thread that we’ve been seeking. When it’s so tempting to yank at the damned thing, but we can’t because it starts to unravel with the slightest tug. When we follow it, winding around and around my sweet girl until seeing so clearly that it’s attached to my own ball of yarn.
And THAT’S not even the whole picture. But well, is it ever really?
Yes, it’s one of those moments.
When the day is starting, proofreading is impossible and run-on sentences will have to suffice.