I don't want to disappoint those who came hoping to get an update on how the vacation is going. Lisa is enjoying time with the girls and looks forward to getting back to "civilization" soon because she is in a no-Internet zone! In the meantime she asked me (Dia at Rancho Chico) and my daughter, Corazon, (blogs at Finding my Heartsmile) if we would "guest blog" here. We are thrilled and honored especially because this was the first blog I found that spoke to me directly about my life as a mom to kids with RAD and suddenly I didn't feel quite so alone anymore. Lisa opened up an incredible world for me and has done so much to encourage my daughter and me on this healing journey.
When I asked my daughter if she would like to do this she said she would but was not sure about the topic. I suggested she write about our day on Sunday when we got to visit with a few other kids healing from RAD because I knew she had really enjoyed herself. She thought that was a great idea and asked if she could write it the way she does her daily writing prompts (so it will probably also appear on her blog) and off she went to do her writing. As I was waiting for her to complete this I began to think about all the ways in which we witness healing in our kids. It doesn't happen in the way that taking medicine works on a sick kid who is stuck in bed for a while where you generally "see" the impact relatively quickly. It happens in a much more subtle and gradual way and sometimes you don't realize there's healing until you stop to think "wow, that hasn't happened in a long time!" or "I cannot remember the last time she did ____." Sometimes it's a more dramatic revelation such as "Did she really just stop and tell herself OUT LOUD to tell the truth even if it was hard and she knew she was going to get in trouble?"
With Corazon we have seen more healing in the past few months and about a week ago we were having some control issues and I had her pull out a sheet of paper and take a "pop quiz" with no right or wrong answers. I have found that these "pop quizzes" really help us process stuff in the moment and lest you think it was my idea I actually stole it from an awesome mom who blogged about it here a while ago in her blog Welcome to my Brain. Here's what we did and remember this is in the MIDDLE of a control "struggle":
Me: "When you think about me being in control and acting like the mom
with you how does that make you feel?"
Me: "Why happy?"
Corazon: Because then I can have more fun when you decide things.
AND I don't have to think so hard.
Me: "So, if that is true, why do you do it? You like to have fun."
Corazon: I don't know.
Me: What did you mean by "think so hard"?
Corazon: (after a long pause she wrote:) because there is alot to have to remember when
I have to decide if I want to do it or not and when I don't do it the right way!
Me: "So, are you saying that when you are fighting me and not doing things the way you are supposed to do them you KNOW you are not doing them the right way and you are thinking about how to NOT do them the right way?"
Corazon: (with a smile on her face she writes:) YES!
Me: "Does this work out well for you?"
Me: "Has it ever worked out well for you?"
Me: "But you keep doing it. Do you think it will work for you in the future even if it has never worked for you before?"
Me: "How many RAD kids do you think this has worked for?"
Me: "But you still think it can work for you?"
Corazon: Yes. Maybe.
Me: "Let me get back to what you said in the first question. You said it made you "Happy" to think about letting me be the mom and be the one in control. Do you still believe that?"
Me: "So even if it makes you feel happy to let me be in control and be the mom, you still don't do it. I don't understand. What do you think will happen (good and bad) if you let yourself be the kid and be happy letting me be the mom?"
Corazon: 1. Good things will happen to me. 2. I will be mad when you go away. 3. I don't know.
Me: "Do you still think I will leave you after 4 1/2 years together?"
Corazon: (she wrote this and the caps are hers) NO but sometimes it FEELS like, when or IF you leave me or die then I should not let me feel happy now because it is easier to feel mad all the time.
This led to a discussion of how disappointing it can be after having fun and feeling happy to have a let down of some kind and how it is "easier" for her (I suggested it was more comfortable rather than easier because they both work too hard for it to be easy) for her and her older brother to feel miserable and unhappy because it was predictable. It also surfaced something that seemed much more like regular kid feelings rather than RAD kid feelings: her classmate/gymnastics friend just lost her father in a sudden car accident a couple of weeks ago and she was scared that could happen to me too. We talked about that as well.
I had been trying to figure out how to write about this on my blog but until just recently I realized that the fact that we can have these conversations now is part of the healing. It used to be just me SAYING, YELLING, SINGING, CRYING at the top of my lungs: "I am not going to send you away!" over and over again and now she knows it but still has the fear that was put there by her experiences with all the other people that came and went in her life before me. She just has to figure out how to make herself believe that she is safe and that even when she does get hurt that I will be there to help her pick up the pieces. She has gotten it that things go better when she just lets herself trust yet those little voices and experiences inside of her keep the doubt very much alive so she still struggles for control in those areas where she can be in control even if she makes the wrong choices and knows it. It is so complicated and so hard yet I am ever so grateful that we have gotten to this point in her healing.
I will try to post her post later today or tomorrow. Thank you for listening/reading. :-)