I’m not sure what caused the explosion. All I remember is bear-hugging my 7-year-old in the bathroom praying he wouldn’t hurt me.
Taking a huge deep breath in, I whispered to myself “He would do well if he could.” And with every exhale, I silently prayed, “God, give me strength. Fill me with love.”
Little by little, I released all of the fear with my breath, creating a sound like that of ocean waves crashing onto the rocky shore.
It took every ounce of willpower I had to keep my own nervous system from being hijacked by his.
Every few minutes, I shook my hands vigorously so the rest of my body could remain calm.
He kept screaming on top of his lungs, “GO AWAY!” to which I would quietly respond, “I love you too much to leave you like this.”
After an intense struggle, my son eventually made it into the bathtub allowing the water to slowly dissolve his anger. It was as if the water gave him the space he needed to take his own full breath again.
As he looked up at me with puffy, glassed-over eyes looking like the life had literally been sucked right out of him, all I could think of was how much I wish I could take away his pain.
Slouching down on the toilet, I allowed my body to relax. I had finally crossed the finish line after what felt like a grueling marathon.
We both sat in silence as he continuously dunked himself beneath the warm water only coming up for air when needed.
Having an explosive child is hard.
It’s not only hard but exhausting, scary, trying, testing, and utterly depleting. However, it has also made me a stronger, more caring, understanding, empathic, prayerful, kinder, and better mother.
I had the same meltdowns as a child, but they looked a little different.
Instead of trying to hurt others, I hurt myself.
Instead of getting violent, I spiraled into deep sadness.
Instead of having a mother who prayed to God asking to give her strength promising to never leave my side, in those sad moments, I was left alone wondering if she would ever come to see me again.
Instead of screaming, “Go away!” I buried my head in my pillow shaking and screaming without anyone nearby.
The opportunity is mine to make a change. I can be the mom I desperately desired to have as a young child.
One who would do her best to embrace and love her uniquely wired child.
I can celebrate my child’s differences even in the face of challenging behaviors and meltdowns. I can savor the good times and give tools to overcome the hard times.
I can learn all there is about my child’s anxiety, obsessive and intrusive thoughts, his developmental advances and delays which come with his gifted brain, and take the time to understand the reason for his behaviors.
I can choose to continue to fully show up despite how challenging life gets.
And I can follow God’s leading for the purpose and calling He has graciously given me.
Having an explosive child is far from easy, but with God’s power and guidance, I can and I WILL rise above, choosing to be better.