My oldest is highly sensitive, (very highly sensitive) with possible Sensory Processing Disorder. He is not hard of hearing, vision impaired, does not have cancer, or anything else that some super mamas have to deal with.
He is just……hard.
He takes in everything, struggles with dealing with it, feels too much, hates change, and takes it out on….me, especially. He is too much and overwhelming and never sleeps and is so so so difficult.
And some weeks, I have this thought, and I know some of you have thought this too, that no one will ever, ever know what you have done for this child. That it will always be this heavy weight you carry, sometimes as heavy as a warm blanket, but sometimes as heavy as a gag, as a pair of handcuffs, as a chain you can’t break. You don’t want to break it most of the time, but it makes it hard to breathe, doesn’t it? Hard to feel like you will ever get away.
And you know, and I know, that all mothers, that all parents do this, this never-ending journey of self-sacrifice. That all parents have given up of themselves for their children, in sleep, in health, in worry that goes on into the dark nights. In the obsessive googling of sickness symptoms, in the SO MANY pee accidents on the floor in toilet training, in the broken dishes and in the despairing hurt of watching them hurt.
But you know, you can tell this, that it seems like you have given just a little more. You don’t mean to judge another parent’s journey, and you don’t want to complain, but it seems, from what you’ve seen, that your child is different. That he won’t wear any clothes you have, that she won’t sleep for nights on end, that after any sort of change the fall out is just massive. Just rip your hair out, screaming down the hallways, the whole world has ended horrible.
And this is the kicker. That other parents, because of who their child is, or because of who they are, or both, assume that yours is being difficult on purpose. That you need to make them wear that pair of socks, that you should have shut down the break down about the different plate for dinner. But you know, you can tell, in the sound of the wail, in the look on their face, that this is not manipulation, that this is as real as it gets for them. That this is also who they really are, not who they are trying to be.
And so, you take a minute. You take many, many minutes. You take days, weeks, and years, and you are meeting them where they are, working with them to find solutions, staying with them when they cannot handle their lives, being the person on whom they can fall apart. Because they always do.
They always do.
So I want you to know that I know. I know how hard it is, exactly how much it can take out of you and how sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it.
And, even on my days when I have nothing left, these are some things I cling to, and I want you to hear them too. That someday these little people who feel too much and then don’t know what to do with it will have more than enough love and sorrow left for others when they older. That someday these little people who can notice any little change will notice the change in the atmosphere when someone has been hurt, or someone in the corner of the room or street that no one else has noticed. That someday these little people who are so stubborn about every single thing will find an injustice to fight somewhere and not ever, ever give up.
And you know what that means, don’t you? That you, by not stamping that out of them, that you, by not insisting they ignore what they see and what they think is important, you are a world changer.
And we’ll close our eyes, and remember that for however many times we must during a day. And we’ll take a deep breath together, maybe have a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine, and then go back in.
Because I know you, and I know me. And that’s what we do.