My sweet son had a significant meltdown last night. Like for reals.
It’s the first we’ve had at this level in a long time.
Eventually, he was able to calm down enough to lie down with his service dog, Sammy.
He cried, ran his hands over Sammy’s body and murmured to him for almost 30 minutes. Eventually, he was able to get up and go on with the night.
I stood in the middle of his room, surrounded by what felt like loss.
Broken treasures that he adores and would never damage when he is present and calm.
Water flung everywhere.
Posters ripped from the wall and shredded into pieces.
A special project we had just finished and hung up in his room, now in irreparable pieces.
For me to witness and struggle to help.
And always, always, always worse for him – terrified and overwhelmed, uncomfortable in his own mind and body, and devastated at his own inability to cope.
The Long Obedience of Motherhood
As I cleaned up the significant mess and damage, I felt a great mixture of sadness and gratitude.
Sadness because of so much pain and loss. Sadness because even on good days, his body and brain can overwhelm him.
Gratitude because it doesn’t happen as often. Gratitude because when it does, we now have Sammy to help.
I woke up this morning with the same blend of emotions. Even as I slept, they were still there, mourning mixed with hope – an undercurrent to the night.
As I struggled to begin my day, I remembered this Eugene Peterson quote –
“Faithfulness is a long obedience in the same direction.”
This long obedience is not easy and it is certainly not pretty. But it is the essence of faith.
In many ways, it’s the essence of motherhood itself.
It’s the small steps, the taking one right after the other.
It’s cleaning up the mess and then cleaning it up again.
It’s letting the pain wash over you, but not define you.
It’s doing only the very next thing and then the next, not able to see any further anyway.
It’s the tears when you thought maybe, there were none left.
It’s the glimpses of progress, of goodness, of God.
It’s loving with everything we’ve got and then loving even more.
It’s the long obedience of motherhood.
Please know, if your child is showing this same level of anxiety and aggression, you are not alone.
The Parenting An Explosive Child series is an honest look at how we can best help our children.