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We Made it Through The Night

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First I have to thank you all for your comments. Your words have meant so much to me.

Last night I was up a lot checking on my son. This morning he was back to his seemingly happy self, but I knew better. He'd said too much, he'd cried out too loudly,  it couldn't be ignored.

Today I called all of the kids in. We sat in a circle. Joshua was by the window sitting on the floor. The sunshine was streaming in on him making him somehow look much younger than the young man that he's become. Or maybe it allowed me to see into his broken heart, the heart of a confused child.

All of the kids know that when these meetings are called that they are serious, thought out and they  need to listen and participate. I began with questions.

  • Who in this room loves Joshua? Every hand quickly went up.
  • Who in this room would like Joshua to leave the family? No one moved.
I looked at Joshua. He was fighting back tears. He was open, unguarded, surprised.
  • Who in this room dislikes the things that Joshua can do? Every hand went up.
  • Who in this room would protect Joshua should he find himself in trouble? Again every hand went up.
We talked about Joshua's problems, his autism, his rebellion and his stubborn refusal to allow any one have an opinion. We talked about Joshua expecting the world to revolve around him. We talked about his feelings, and his fear.

Next I went around the room and had each child share their fears, their concerns, their insecurities. Joshua listened, he cried. His heart was open and with an open heart he was able to open his eyes. He was able to see that they, too, have pain. They have problems, they have doubts.

The other kids realized the depth of Joshua's pain. Yes, he's a pest, yes he's annoying, but he is hurting. He knows that he is different. He knows that people see him as different. He can't fit in, no matter how much he tries he ends up alienating people.

I wanted him to understand that we are taking his feelings seriously, that we love him, that he is a valuable member of this family, but that he needs to help us. He needs to take responsibility for his actions.

It's a hard line to walk trying to get a child, an autistic child, to realize that sometimes they are doing the same thing to others that they hate others doing to them. He needs to know he's loved, he needs to know he's part of the family, not the center of the family.

Everyone agreed to be more tolerant of Joshua. Joshua agreed to take his medication and to try to allow others to be themselves. So many times with autism there are no blurred lines, it's black or white, right or wrong. Everything is taken as a personal attack if it doesn't line up with their notion of what should be.

I hope that we made some progress today. Tomorrow I'll make calls to his doctors and his case manager. Tomorrow we'll come up with a plan. Tomorrow will be a new day.

But tonight I hang my head in shame. I have a confession to make to Allyson. It's been a stressful day and tonight I'm typing this while sitting in bed eating a Butterfinger.

 In my defense, the only reason that I'm having a Butterfinger is that Dairy Queen was closed and I couldn't get a blizzard.

Now I've had a Butterfinger, I've updated about our crisis, I've taken an ambien. I have a laptop, great internet connection and a credit card. Ambien induced shopping is the best. Until the morning when you have that vague memory of Tiffany, LV or Chanel and then it really sucks!

Thank you everyone, I love you!


Cheryl D. June 7, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

Hang in there--it sounds like things went great!

JoJo June 7, 2010 at 12:14 AM  

Well good for you! This was very inspiring. The family meeting sounds like a wonderful idea to listen to each other and for everyone to express their feelings. Looks like you have a great family and enjoy the chocolate :-).

Kat @My Tots Exactly June 7, 2010 at 1:22 AM  

New subscriber and follower from Mailbox Monday.
k3na29xx (at) gmail (dot) com

Have a great week! :)

~~ Kat ~~
My Tots Exactly!
My Tummy Calls
My Game of Chance

Unknown June 7, 2010 at 4:50 AM  

What a brilliant idea - to involve the family in such an engaging way with Joshua! It must be terribly heart wrenching to watch your child in so much pain (it was heart wrenching just to read!), but it sounds like you have a great plan, the right tools, and all the love in the world to help him get better.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2010 at 5:41 AM  

Could you be more fantastic? What a good thing you did, having that family meeting. Even if Joshua doesn't feel it now...he'll one day recognize that he is LOVED!
We never really had 'family meetings', just dinnertime. And we never raised hands. I love that!

Tree June 7, 2010 at 6:38 AM  

We have family meetings and they DO help! I'm glad Joshua got to see how much everyone loves him....not just how annoyed they can get with him. Prayers for easier times!

Mama Hen June 7, 2010 at 7:00 AM  

You have a lot on your plate and I am not talking about the Butterfinger! By including the family, you are creating an open communication for all to be able to empathize with one another and eachother's feelings. Stay strong, seek advice when needed and enjoy a Blizzard or a Butterfinger when needed! I hope you have a great day!

Mama Hen

Anonymous,  June 7, 2010 at 7:24 AM  

What a great family meeting, Diva and you deserved those two butterfingers. I hope you managed sleep.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2010 at 7:33 AM  

Sounds like it was a very much needed(emotional) family meeting. Although you deserved the blizzard, I'm sure the butterfingers helped in the pinch.

Gucci Mama June 7, 2010 at 7:33 AM  

You are a fantastic mama. You deserve all the butterfingers you can find.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2010 at 7:43 AM  

I have a friend with 13 year old twins. One of the twins is Autistic. I have seen her pain, suffering, and joy...and her son's, too. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job!

Furry Bottoms June 7, 2010 at 8:40 AM  

I really like what you did with all the kids together. I'll have to keep that in mind for when I have kids!!

Anonymous,  June 7, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

We too have family meetings and it seems to be helpful. Sounds like you are doing all you can.

Good luck.

Kimberly Walker June 7, 2010 at 12:06 PM  

That was smart the way that you sat all of the kids down and had a discussion like that... I never had any family meetins growing up.
Sounds like things are turning around... hey you earned that Chocolate, so don't feel guilty!
All the best,

Sey June 7, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

It's a great thing you're involving the kids, that would help a lot and they'll know that what they are and they're decision will affect the whole family.

You deserve the Butterfinger.

Ms. Understood June 7, 2010 at 1:19 PM  

I completely admire the openess and communication that you have in your family. I can only hope to be able to have my children trust me and each other enough to bare their feelings that way. Seriously, that is just amazing. I hope everything works out. I use late night shopping to help me get to bed so you're in good company *wink* There is something really relaxing about hitting the PURCHASE button, something like a lullaby.

Christy June 7, 2010 at 2:04 PM  

I'm glad you are feeling better about the situation. Sometimes, being proactive makes venting even more important. It can help us focus on the problem and find solutions once the frustration has passed.

Michelle Pixie June 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

I think you are an amazing momma!

Liz Mays June 7, 2010 at 6:02 PM  

You handled that so beautifully, and I admire it so much. And that deserved at LEAST that!

Bring Pretty Back June 7, 2010 at 6:35 PM  

What a great mother you are. That was so touching and so honest.

Allyson & Jere June 7, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

Oh you! You crack me up. Way to confess, at least you cleared your conscience. And, you totally desrved that cheat, after the stresses of the day. Now, you can just start over tomorrow. : )

in other news....sounds like you handled the situation with your son perfectly. I can't imagine how difficult it is, and I admire you for all your efforts. Hang in there.

Unknown June 7, 2010 at 8:48 PM  

I commented on your post last night but must have been out of it cause I didn't see it. You are truly an amazing woman who has endured and will keep fighting the good fight for as long as it takes. Not only are you showing him that he is needed and loved but you are also teaching the other children tolerance. God created each and everyone of us different so that we can learn and grow from each other. I love your raw honesty~it makes other Mom's like myself feel like maybe I'm not the only one who struggles everyday. That I am doing what is in the best interest of everyone who lives in our home. Bless You~and keep up the good fight!

Unknown June 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

I'm sure having an autistic child in the family is stressful on everyone but even i would forget that it's probably the most stressful on the autistic kid himself. I was watching PBS the other day and this documentary came on about a family that traveled all the way to Mongolia to try and heal their autistic son through a love of horses and reindeer. It was such a cool story and even though he obviously remains autistic, the fits and tantrums and stuff the family was having a hard time dealing with, stopped. I thought you might want to check it out, it's called The Horse Boy. I included the trailer and info below..

Unknown June 8, 2010 at 12:09 AM  

HI, I came to your blog through Follow Me Back Tuesday. You are dealing with so much. You are such a strong women! I am now your newest follower and I look forward to hearing out you guys work all of this out. I have two daughters who have sensory processing disorder so I can relate to what you are going through. Sending prayers your way.

Stacy's Snippets June 8, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

Wow...I'm glad that you were able to help him realize how much he means to the other family members. I hope that he is able to fully understand the depth of your love.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I have read through a bunch of yours and I'm diggin it! :)

P.S. I just ate a mini butterfingers but my friend/office manager/new worst enemy wouldn't let me eat a 2nd one. What's up with that??!

Green-Eyed Momster June 8, 2010 at 10:57 AM  

Wonderful job, Diva! Wish I could give you a real hug~!


Leah June 8, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

Hi! I'm stopping over from Follow Me Back Tuesday. I'm following and "like" you on FB. You are a wonderful and courageous woman. God has your back girlfriend! I hope to be able to get my family together like that when the need arises. Blessings.

mzbehavin June 8, 2010 at 10:07 PM  

oh my word.......... your writing blows me away in it's beauty and candor........ it takes courage, insight, humor, and a great talent to create a site like you've got here..... I'm hooked!

Allyson & Jere June 8, 2010 at 10:09 PM  

Whatever, you totally just beat me out one spot in the SITS comments. Shame. hahahahaha

Free2bMommy June 9, 2010 at 8:27 PM  

It looks like you are doing all the things you can do to be a good attentive mother. Involving the entire family is awesome. Its important for everyone to feel like they contribute somehow to the family. I am guessing especially more so with a larger family. Good luck to you, hope you will keep us posted.


Anonymous,  June 10, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

Hun, I had no idea. I think you handled it so wonderful for Joshua..he's so lucky to have you!

Anonymous,  June 12, 2010 at 6:18 AM  

Love your description of how you handled the situation!!! Coming by from Lady Bloggers Tea Party...your newest follower, hope you will stop in my blog as well...

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