Oh, it's always there, that silver lining, even on days like today. Really shitty, sad, scary days. It's always there. Remember how I told you once before that we'd talk some day about what to do with those terrible depressed feelings? We will, but here is a glimpse of what it looks like on the other side. That side where it's bright and doable and hopeful. (And you WILL get there.)
I don't know that I'm ready to rehash all of the specifics yet, but suffice it to say that today was a really rock-bottom day for 4A. 3 behavior tickets at school...most she's ever gotten. A little bit of it is extinction burst junk (the "worse" before the "better" in the "it's gonna get worse before it gets better" saying: teacher has tightened the screws and upped the consistency, so 4A has to push back harder to test the new system). I understand that. I understand that the expectations (social, academic, and responsibility) have increased exponentially this year. I understand that we're in that dreaded window of first-semester mayhem.
But, understanding notwithstanding, she still scared the shit out of me today. Deep, awful, scary, pit-of-my-stomach fear. I know now after a conversation with Dr. Steve (and I'm pretty sure that I knew it in the heat of the moment, too, but it feels trustworthy now that he said it, too) that she didn't really mean what she said. That she was saying it more because of her lack of social prowess and because she desperately wanted to avoid the consequences of her behavior and the conversation we had to have. But, she scared me nonetheless. In a way that I haven't felt with her in at least five years.
Yesterday, her amazing classroom teacher took a stand with her. It was a hard stand to take, and the teacher did it beautifully and unflinchingly. But, the teacher was a bit weepy (after the fact) because it felt counter-intuitive and was very un-fun. I hugged her and told her I was proud of her. 4Daddy and I talked last night, in quiet voices, about having been in the teacher's shoes before. Having to lock that beautiful girl in her room and listen to her scream for HOURS to get her to stop certain behaviors. It turned out to have been the "right" thing to do because it worked, but it felt scary and miserable and mean at the time. Having to physically restrain her on a toilet seat until she could stop tantrumming; again, turned out to be the right thing to do because it worked, but it felt scary and cruel and wrong at the time.
With each of these hard things, I've gained confidence, with her and in myself. It's strengthened my character, my faith, and my love for her, ironically. But, that doesn't mean that it didn't suck.
So, on a day like today, I remember what it felt like to feel so hopeless and miserable and scared. I know now that there's always a silver lining, but let me tell you what it was today, on this shitty day.
4B, my sweet and sensitive boy, saw what a hard afternoon I was having, so that sweet boy, unbeknownst to me, went up and took a shower and got into his jammies BEFORE supper because he didn't want to make extra work for me. And he had the full heart to tell me that with a hug. My beloved pediatrician interrupted an office visit with another family to immediately return my call, and she gave me the information I needed but also hugged me, over the phone, with words of encouragement and empathy. 4Daddy broke state law to call me on his horrible commute home and offer really honest and strong support and encouragement and reinforcement. Our beloved Dr. Steve called, probably making him late to get home to his own family, so that we could resolidify our plan and resolve; he reassured us and told us what to do and how to handle this new behavior. A beloved childhood friend emailed me to let me know that she's been thinking of me behind my back, wishing for the very thing that I had been asking for in my own wishes.
That's all silver lining, my friend. On today, a terribly bad day. Tomorrow's going to be an easier and better day because of the work that I had to do today. The phone calls, the emails, the on-the-fly behavioral plan making, the tears, the fear, the hurting heart and ears... It's all going to be so worth it. Maybe not soon. Maybe not in the way I hope and pray for. But, it is going to get better. It always does. Always.
And, tired and exhausted as I am today from being a mom, wrangling 4C to her first dance lessons and school, having 4D on me all day like a toddler tumor, baking and cutting and pasting and listing and organizing for our big bake sale on Sunday, dealing with my 4A crisis, my cup runneth over with support and love and peace. Every day should be this wonderful.