Today, I was chatting with another mom. She was struggling and having a tough time. Her child was in full on exhaustive can’t go on meltdown mode. She was struggling because she didn’t know how to help him or make it better. She wanted to comfort him but knew he needed to work through stuff first. All the conversations today with her made me remember some of our incidents and meltdowns with Emelie.
This “calm” we have now wasn’t always here. Meltdowns were a daily occurrence and my heart broke every time I couldn’t figure out how to help her. The times I had to restrain her for her safety and wanted to just cry knowing I couldn’t show her my pain. I still can vividly remember the pain in watching her meltdown to the point that she fell asleep where she was even if it were the most uncomfortable place to sleep.
When she’d sleep, I’d caress her cheek and her forehead letting my tears fall. I’d let all that pent up pain out wondering how to help her. Years of watching her struggle and trying to help her never dulled that pain or made it go away. Patience and consistency in how we held our ground and worked towards developing coping skills and seeing how we could stave off a meltdown before it happened.
There were times that I cried myself to sleep. There were times I questioned myself as a parent. There were plenty of times I wondered if we’d survive the challenges. I would apologize for her, for us, for everything. I couldn’t tell up from down or left from right. I was fighting for my baby girl day in and day out.
Then slowly she started to use her coping skills. Challenges she used to have still can drive her to exhaustion but often without the meltdowns. We let her decompress and talk through it. I still get frustrated and feel her pain when she is struggling but at least I see the hope for her. There is absolutely hope for her.
I quit apologizing. My baby girl was and is perfect even with her imperfections. After all, aren’t we all perfectly imperfect? Aren’t we all allowed to have a bad day? So it became teaching her how to handle bad days and disappointments as well as changes in routines. Then we reminded her every night, especially after a really tiresome and struggling day that “Tomorrow is a new day.”
I know in my heart that the future for her is unwritten. The sky is the limit for her and many kids like her. We may have our hearts broken. We may shed a many tear. We may have moments of struggles in which we wonder what their future holds. Our anxiety and stress levels may climb through the skylights into the clouds but it’s essential we cling to any hope and faith we can find.
Love and heartache go hand in hand when you are a parent. It’s about knowing when to rescue, when to guide and when to let them fall. And it’s never ever black and white. Sometimes the one thing to get you through is knowing that you are never alone when you go through the fire of parenting them and reaching out to those who understand for support.