In my last post I am sure my tone was d.o.n.e. with Mr. Man. Let me just emphasize this is NOT the case. And never will be. While he was not born of my womb, that child was born in my heart, and my mother’s love for him will never die, and is just as strong as the love I feel for the children that I birthed.
I just get frustrated. While seemingly every mom can sympathize with the old “it’s hard being a parent” saying, very few understand what it means to parent the hurting child. That is SO much harder. I can’t even begin to tell how much harder it is. But I am going to try.
Let’s start with how easily I forget.
In all areas my memory is not the best. I feel that God designed that specifically for me; it’s hard for me to keep an account of wrongs, because I forget them so easily. But in just the same breath, I forget what I’ve done to others, or more specifically I forget what has been done to my son.
There are things I don’t want to remember. Horrible things that are best left in the deep recesses of my mind. And while I am able to function “normally” (that is quoted, because who really is normal?) my son isn’t. I take for granted things that I didn’t necessarily teach my other children, or were taught to me, but were actually taught….like trust.
Mr. Man learned at a very young age not to trust. That people hurt him.
Last night at dinner he said something very profound to me.
If he is good at the end of the day at school, then he gets a star, if not…then he doesn’t. And he has had no stars this week. What Mr. Man’s teacher hasn’t figured out, and what I am just now learning is that doing the opposite of what you would normally do with a child in trouble is what works for Mr. Man.
You confront the behavior, correct it, and then nurture him. If you continue to punish him, he will punish you. And it’s an ugly cycle.
At the dinner table he announced that he no longer likes it here, and would like to move somewhere. Somewhere they will give him stars. At first my feelings were hurt, because I just assumed he meant without me. But then I asked…do you want me to go with you, or do you want to go alone?
“Go with me, everyone go with me.” As he motioned around the table. He meant for the whole family to move again to some place new. It struck me as odd that he would think we can just pick up and leave when things aren’t working out, but the more I thought about it…the more I realized that has been his whole little life.
I only know of the 8 families he has lived with. 8…the child is 5 ya’ll. That’s a lot of mamas. And not all of them were very nice. I only know of the 15 professionals who have told them that they love him, but when the job gets transferred, or they switch jobs he doesn’t hear from them again. Oh, that is so many people in a little 5 year olds life. And those are just the people I know about. This child has more history in 5 years, than most of us have in our whole lives.
But I so easily forget it.
All I see is the child who is acting out, and honestly it is the most unnatural thing for me to want to wrap my arms around a child who is being naughty, and hold him. Cuddle him. Rock him.
Things that should have been done in his very first days of life, but weren’t. No one loved my baby. No one came when he cried because his diaper was wet or he was hungry, or he just wanted to know that someone was still there to take care of him. No one.
That messes a kid up ya’ll.
And while I am firm believer that my child will not be a product of his past. He will not make excuses for his behavior, we still have to correct the things that were done to him, and that will take time. I can’t erase it from his memory or mine. I have to face it, tough it out, go through it with him, and pray for redemption and healing.
I love a hurting child.
Cut me some slack. Cut HIM some slack. I am going to look frustrated, worn out, and grey at an unusually early age in life. But I will not trade him for anything. It may take every ounce of what I have to give to show this boy that we are NOT ever going to give up on him. He will always get stars in this family because he is LOVED and wanted, and never leaving. I am going to do it. It’s worth it.
So let me thank you in advance for the grace that you will show my son when he acts a little different from the rest of the kids. And let me thank you for allowing me a safe place to lay it all out there.
I am learning that loving the hurting child is a little more complex than I originally thought. I appreciate so much the support I’ve been given, and any mom who loves a hurting child with me, girl I am PRAYING for you.