While I was driving home from dropping off Sean at school I hit some unexpected traffic. The bright orange cones ahead alerting me to slow down and that the right lane was closing for construction. The sign 200 yards in front of the cone read:
“Roadwork Ahead. Expect Delays.”
The brake lights lit up the early morning, burning through a thin layer of fog and I put on my blinker to merge with traffic.
And then it hit me. You see, it has been a difficult past few weeks with Sean. He has been out of sync lately, making his small body disregulated and his actions completely impulsive. He also has been eating like a horse and sleeping longer than usual. My boy is growing. His brain and body are maturing and changing. His pants, which for most of the year, had been rolled up at the bottom to keep from dragging on the floor now brush above his ankles. His teeth have been falling out like leaves from trees during the fall. And his language has been expanding– more useful sentences being spoken.
There is work going on within my son. And with that progress comes some slow down – some delays. He is so sensitive to change that his body is reacting to it and sometimes the responses are frustrating and disheartening. But in order to smooth out the bumps, to help the traffic in his mind move more evenly and productively, other parts need to shut down and be put on hold. He is trying his best to cope.
So there I sat in traffic, my engine idling, and time ticking away, eating into my plans when I realized that maybe the same is true with Sean. Our life with Sean is dotted with peaks and valleys and right now, we feel like we are nearly crawling, our shoulders and knees pressing into a blinding wind, fighting the exhaustion. And our fear is that we will never be able to get through it and that Sean will remain frozen in the valley, no chance of climbing out, no clear sky above it all just the chaos of wind and dust.
I don’t give up hope though. I have been here before with him. Many sleepless nights and worried thoughts cluttering my mind, difficult conversations with my husband – our fears hung out like wet clothes on a line with no breeze in sight. And yet, slowly, he comes back to us – the tantrums lessening and his conversations more lucid. He is not gone to us forever.
But when he is in the valley, it is lonely for us. We miss his laughter and silliness and feel helpless watching him suffer. We try our best to dig deep down in the well of patience and give him tenderness to rest his tangled thoughts and weary head. As hard as it is for us, it is so much harder for him. We have to remind ourselves of this to keep our energy and love for him constant. If we can’t hold his pain then who will?
He is only a nine-year old boy who sometimes carries the weight of this world sqaurely on his shoulders. He just needs to be assured that it won't be like this forever.
9 months ago