The Light At the End of The Tunnel

We made it. Somehow I always knew we would. A is ok. He is more than ok. B and H also. D too. Me- well, I will be ok. It just may take some time. A is at his new boarding school- all reports are fabulous he is enthusiastic, engaged, even popular. He misses home, but has already asked us to register for next year.

B is like a new boy. I don’t know if it is his age and he is hitting some developmental milestones, or if it that A isn’t taking up all our time, or that B isn’t living in reaction to his big brother- it’s probably all three. But to me it is like seeing him for the first time. Getting to know all these really cool things about him. Like he is really great, maybe even gifted, at math, that he is really sensitive and carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He’s quite meticulous and very driven. I am amazed at his active social life– I never knew that boys did this. Everyday at least one friend is over-usually more. The phone rings and the emails come in- everyone wants to play with B, to show them their new toy, to go to the library with him. A was a one playdate limit- after the first one, they didn’t come back.

My favorite part of the day with B is bedtime. He is desperate to fix his articulation problem and we practice saying “rat” and “rain” over and over- I’m sure a speech therapist would make headway much quicker, but, of course, our insurance doesn’t cover articulation issues, and we can’t afford to pay $150 an hour. So B and I have decided to do it ourselves. We watch youtube videos of lips making the “R” sound. I read articles to him about articulation problems. It’s probably not working- I think I MAY have heard the right “r” sound last night, but not sure. But, we have so much fun lying in his bed repeating “rain” “rat” “rrrrrrrrrrr” (or his version “wain, wat, owwwww.”) He eventually settles down and quietly sucks his thumb- the last vestige of babyhood. Just before he falls asleep he mumbles, “I wuv you,” and I find myself thinking I hope he says “wuv” forever.

H. Wow. I always hated the word “blossomed” when it referred to a girl. But she really has blossomed. She is still a tomboy- but so feminine. She’s our soccer star. We travel near and far for her games every weekend. She too has loads of friends. She’s getting 100’s on all her tests and homework. Reading tons. We giggle so much together. I love how sensitive she is and sometimes worry she takes on too much responsibility for her little brother. She can get teary very quickly and I am told to brace myself for the next few years. I’m ready…

D and I have a sitter now. We go out together and have the opportunity to be alone- to unwind, talk. It’s so “normal.” He works hard but manages to still help out after school when he gets home from a grueling early shift at the ferry. We play board games with the kids. We go to family functions. We all clean the house together. And everyone says, “YES.”

I never knew parenting could be so easy. It doesn’t even feel like parenting. It’s like the four of us live together and do what we need to do in order to keep our house, routines, school and work running smoothly. Everyone (for the most part!) is respectful and responsible and eager to please. I knew it had been hard, but I never really knew just how hard and what I was missing out on.

I am struggling though. I pass the drugstore where A threw everything off the shelf once. I take  one of the kids to the pediatrician. I see his old teacher. All these bring up such horrible memories. My mind goes through scenes of what happened to A, to us, last year and I cry. It all seems so unfair. I don’t know if I am angry at god, at life, at child psychiatry in America, at our educational system. I’m just so angry. A never really got to be a fourth grader. He spent 4th grade in locked psych units. In treatment centers. In our basement with the lights dimmed and animal planet playing for 24 hours a day. H and B were traumatized by what they saw and about the promises that “this time” their brother would come home and be “regular.”

I have so many people to blame for this. I don’t know how to let the anger go. I don’t know how to forgive a doctor who insisted my son’s brain was sick and he had to take the meds I knew are at least contributing to the “sickness.” Or the doctor who reported to our school district that A behaved in a “socially appropriate manner” after I spent the entire office vist restraining A while he flailed and cursed and bit. And the blame- all the doctors and therapist who blamed us. Who, in the name of help, told us how we SHOULD be doing “it.” How we needed to change our parenting, our rules, our schedules… Family who wanted to come over and teach us the “right way.” Or the family member(s) who felt they couldn’t give advice, but simply didn’t do anything. Not a phone call. Not a hug. Not a lunch date.

But there were a few “heros.” Dr J who would take my calls at all hours of the night and day- the voice of reason when everyone else around us was crazy.  It was because of Dr. J that A eventually was stabilized.

My mom and her husband. Whenever we were going to stop the fight because we couldn’t afford yet another new med, or a plane ticket across the country, they made it happen.

Aunt and Uncle who taught me never to give up and to always have hope.

The other parents whose weary faces in waiting rooms, visiting areas and support groups, grew familiar to me and helped me know that even when I was feeling so alone, I wasn’t.

And A. No matter how many doctors we took him to, how many hospitals, he never stopped trusting me. My heart broke leaving A in Texas when I had told him we were merely “checking it out.” Yet, just a few months later he got in the car with us to “check out” his new boarding school. We weren’t lying this time, but he didn’t know that. He just trusted us. He is so brave. He spent so many nights in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar, sometimes scary, people because of decisions I made. But now I  get these great  letters from school, “Dear Mom, Everything is wonderful here! (But I miss you a lot) Don’t forget to send me a package. Love A.”

I’m more than thrilled that A has found a second home at Hampshire. I know now that A’s potential is limitless. He can become a veterinarian, if that is what he still wants to do when he gets older. He will learn how to be studious, how to relate to other kids. I relish the thought of him, the boy who couldn’t write one legible word last year, writing for the HCS newsletter with gusto!

But, every once in a while I let the darkness in. And I cry. I cry because my beautiful boy can’t live at home.


7 Responses to “The Light At the End of The Tunnel”

  1. Judy Kirkwood Says:

    Lucy, you are such a warrior. You didn’t give up. You did what had to be done. And of course you are angry. You all have PTSD. I’m angry for you, too. But thrilled for A and your family. Enjoy your newfound hardfought time with your other children and husband. And each day know that A is safe and so are you. Judy K

  2. HK Says:

    Lucy, you don’t know who I am, but I am so moved as I read your beautifully written, heartfelt story. Your son (and you) had his losses, but he was blessed to have a committed, loving mother to brave his pain with. We may not know why G-d sends us certain challenges but sometimes overcoming them enable us to grow in tremendous ways that may not have been possible otherwise. I wish you peace of mind and only happy moments that make memories of these hard times fade quickly away. I hope one day, your wish will be fulfilled and your beautiful boy will once again rejoin you at home.

  3. Hollie Says:

    Lucy, I’m so elated to read this post – that A is thriving, and that the other children are free to be themselves. You and D are an inspiration in your devotion to each other and your family.

  4. aunt judy Says:

    finally read the blog and am happy beyond all measure…you too, got the writing gene from nanny…never let anyone tell you there is no hope…love you

  5. Sharon Says:

    You are such an incredible writer, Lucy. And more than that, an incredible mother! wow. What you have inside you is nigh unfathomable. I love the way you can express eveyone’s feelings and the journey. God Bless you.

  6. Arshad Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    I read your blog and I wish God gives you & your famliy strength and happiness always throughout your lives. I would like to point out yogic healing in case it has not come to your attention. – God bless, take care.

  7. Tamara Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. We are right now in that spot.
    Could you email me….we are considering the Hamshire School 🙂

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