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I just scoured the internet to come up with a synonym for “what the hell just happened.” I was thinking “gobsmacked” but the definition doesn’t exactly describe how I felt today. Shocked? Aghast? Bewildered? Dumbfounded? No, THUNDERSTRUCK seems to be the word I’m looking for. You know, one of those days where you’re minding your own business, listening to the bluebirds sing gloriously daydreaming about your everything-is-coming-up-roses life, all of the obstacles you’ve overcome and never have to jump again and BAM! Right smack in the face, it hits you…a giant hurricane in the middle of Game Stop.

After months of parental smooth sailing and having the audacity to think we were in the clear, we were caught in the eye of the storm for what seemed like hours complete with kangaroo kicking, blood curdling screaming, sailor trash talking, good old fashioned melting down…all seemingly over a giant Super Mario statue. Super Mario? Really? I’ll be the first to admit that I once thought Mario and Luigi with affection but now they can both kiss my backside.

You see, one of the challenges of being the parent of a special needs child is that you find yourself walking on eggshells a lot of the time. If you’re not in the middle of a storm, you are waiting for a storm or if you feel a tiny raindrop, you worry that you’re on the verge of a major hurricane. But, every now and then you allow yourself to forget about the storms, damaging winds, lightning bolts, floods of emotions. You forget about it because when things are fluffy chicks, unicorns and rainbows, the mind has a way of pushing all of those memories away. I think it’s part of survival. I compare it to childbirth. If moms remember the pain associated with it, no one would have more than one child and the world as we know it would cease to exist.

When I figure out how to walk the fine line between sunshine (progress) and storms (lunacy), I will have found the secret to the parenting and the universe. And, although it may feel like I’m drowning and in total darkness right now, I know the rainbow will show it’s face eventually. How do I know this? Because a little orphan once sang this song about the sun coming out tomorrow and betting your bottom dollar and all the other crap that goes along with singing bluebirds taking a dump on your head before they sit happily on your shoulder. It’s a hard-knock life, you say? Bring it.


The Power of Therapy…and Love

Every time I come to this blog and see that it’s been so long since I’ve written anything, it says several things to me. It could be that I’ve been so far into the depths of despair (read: self-pity) that I couldn’t see the light, it could mean that I’ve been lazy (highly possible) or it could mean that I’ve been basking in the light.

This time last year was incredibly challenging for Shane. We were still dealing with massive meltdowns and major defiance. I’m not talking temper tantrums like most parents of typical children experience. I’m talking holes in the wall, name calling, etc…Verucca Salt on steroids. It’s not pretty. And, although it has little to do with parenting skills and a lot to do with PDD-NOS and ADHD, it just feels like the lack of parenting skills is what’s put you in that place to begin with. It’s not. I’m slowly getting that. The behavior at school was extreme. Sure, some of the incidents were funny looking back like the time he pulled the fire alarm and the fire department came. Then, there was the time he pulled the fire extinguisher off the wall and attempted to activate it. Not funny were the broken window, the hitting, kicking and name calling. Everyone was struggling but the one struggling the most was Shane…and believe me when I say that few things are as painful as watching your kid in a downward spiral and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it other than what you’re doing. I cried daily…most days more than once and many times cried myself to sleep waking with my eyes glued shut (not pretty, trust me). I wasn’t crying so much for me…but for him.

Although I’m an atheist, I’m convinced there are angels on Earth. Virtual strangers who are put here to add beauty to us all. Cyzner Institute is full of them. But, there’s one in particular who has made a difference. He came to us in the form of a big teddy bear of a guy in argyle sweater vests, nice shoes, a shiny head and talent beyond belief. He was such a stark contrast to the rest of the staff that I wondered how he would fit in much like my little monkey boy. Dr. Lisa and the staff introduced him to Shane and he accepted the challenge for one-on-one therapy with him. And, his name happens to be Shane, too…Mr. Shane. From the moment I met him, I felt a sense of relief. I don’t know why. Maybe his aura looked yellow to me. But, from the beginning I knew that he “got” Shane, understood and appreciated him. I could tell that he loved him right away. And, I could tell that it was his mission to see Shane succeed. He once told me that he’s Shane’s conscience…the angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. So, it’s with that angel that we’ve seen the power of therapy and love. He has embraced the wonderful things about Shane and somehow managed to handle the challenges with poise and grace. But, most importantly to teach Shane to handle the challenges on his own giving him strength, control and independence. He is the Creative Director at Cyzner and is an incredibly talented singer, dancer, musician, artist. He sees Shane’s creativity and imagination and figured out how to use it and nurse it to help Shane succeed.  It doesn’t hurt that he likes Rocky Horror Picture Show and has the sense of humor that matches our family. Although he spends a lot of time with Shane, I can also see the impact he’s had on other kids there. Priceless!

Sitting back now and thinking about it all, I think I haven’t blogged in so long because I’ve been basking in the light. I realize there’s still plenty of tunnel left but Shane is off of all medication for ADHD and is only on a low dose of medication for seizures and migraines and Omega supplements. Doctor’s visits are nearly null. Any meltdowns or “issues” are over in minutes and are manageable. We can see ALL the beauty in our boy…he’s compassionate, loving, caring, empathetic with everyone around him, helpful, sweet as molasses, has an infectious laugh, sloppy kisses and a wicked sense of humor (he still gives anaconda hugs to strangers which is a little scary but there are worse things). I will be honest with you and say that there are times when I still feel sad for the challenges in his life and ours…but the joy in our lives far outweighs the sadness. Keep flying, monkey! Mommy, Daddy, Mr. Shane and all the angels are behind you…and are as proud as proud can be.

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