Monday, June 11, 2012
One of the most important things when you are parenting a child with any kind of special needs is to have a great support system behind you. I am so incredibly blessed to have that.
As I blogged about here I spent several days in Houston visiting my best friend. I attended the graduation of her daughter while I was there, and it was the reason for the timing of the trip.
Sonya has been a staunch supporter of our parenting as long as we've had children. There were times where she saw behaviors in my kids that I didn't see. Having her support me has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. While I was in Houston we talked about my kids, but it wasn't the constant theme of the vacation. In fact, the time spent discussing kids was minimal. We both needed the time to just relax and that's what we did. Kids were still involved since I was staying at their house, but I love her children and we have a great time together, but we did not linger on the problems I am facing.
I am blessed with three additional amazing supporters. We have all been friends for nearly 30 years. I'm trying to figure out how that can be since we're all only 29 ourselves.
Deb, Mel and Shel have been my friends since high school. Actually, Mel has been in my life far longer. Our mothers were friends in high school and we met for the first time when we were in elementary school.
These amazing friends have seen every part of my life. They saw the abuse I suffered and the "relationship" with my mother. They know that what I lived is real. They watched as things progressed with our son, and supported us when the decision was made that he had to enter residential treatment. They may not have always agreed with our choices, but they have supported us, held us up, prayed for us, loved us and have been the best friends we could ever ask for. Having a support system that has known you most of your life is beyond amazing.
There is a saying that I've heard for years and I believe very strongly. "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." I believe this with all my heart and these ladies are pure gold.
Our final big support system is my in-laws. Notice I didn't say my family. My parents have not been a support system at all and have doubted us every step of the way. My in-laws are a completely different story.
We may be over 1000 miles apart, but we are as close as can be. We have had a great relationship, even prior to children entering the picture. My mother-in-law and I used to have season tickets to theater events together when we both lived in the Dallas area.
My in-laws saw things with our son when he went to stay with them for a week when he was about eight. Things did not go smoothly and he let some of his behaviors show. That was a first for him. He was usually sweet and charming to everyone he met.
They began to see what we dealt with and really got it when we explained things. When the violence began, they were worried about my safety. They understood the need for out of home placement and didn't doubt what we were doing and what the court decided.
They completely adore our daughter, but we are blessed that my mother-in-law has been a teacher in various grades and understands child development. She knows what is "normal" and what behaviors come out at what ages. We are now dealing with puberty and I can vent about the hormones and other issues are experiencing. Yes, it's age appropriate behavior, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.
I have other support systems. I have met other moms through the Attachment & Trauma Network, our church is amazing, and other friends I have made along the way all are people I can lean on when I need to. I wish every family dealing with special needs had the support I have. Sadly, I know that's not the case for everyone.
Thank you to all the wonderful people in my life, and thank you for your support! - That almost sounded like a campaign speech. :)