Friday, December 28, 2007

What a difference a day makes

This past week has been extremely difficult with my four year old daughter. The situation finally all culminated this morning with a huge meltdown of my own during an adults-only meeting with her therapist this morning. I'm not proud of it, but I had been pushed beyond my limits. I'd been on the verge of (or in all honesty having) a major breakdown for several days, and finally lost it completely this morning. After days of moving from major crisis to major crisis I had been stretched to the breaking point. I felt like I was failing my daughter utterly and completely. I was angry with her for what she had been doing, and hated myself for that anger. I was ready to find out whether boarding schools took four year olds or if not whether Jewish atheists were welcome in convents, preferably those where the nuns take a vow of silence, just to be sure that one more person wouldn't dare say anything that even slightly hinted that this disaster was my fault. (I'm not sure anyone actually intended to, but I was a wee bit more sensitive than usual, you might say...)

We went from the therapist's office straight to pick up the children from their respective schools. When I went in to get Maya, her teacher told me she'd been more distant than usual (big surprise there) and had needed a lot more intervention to get her out of herself and involved with what the others were doing. Sigh. Expected, but up until this point she'd been holding it together reasonable well in preschool, so this was another punch to the gut. I hadn't gotten as far as the doorway when the school director cornered me to ask whether Maya had been having playdates with the other children. Sometimes, I answered. She then proceeded to tell me that that wasn't good enough and that I had to make this a priority. I somehow managed not to tell her to go f* herself and stated coolly that right now we were inundated with various therapy sessions and that playdates would have to remain something that we fit in when we can. Take that lady and be grateful I didn't shove your head through a plate glass window.

By the time we finished up at the greengrocers next door and get everyone bundled into the car I was in a fine state. Jay offered to take the kids to the store while I went home. Excellent. I could really have used a bit of space to collect myself. We pull up to the front door and Maya, who has barely strung two coherent words together in the last week says "I don't want to go to the store with Daddy, I want to go home with Mommy." Ok, if she's finally speaking again we need to encourage her. Home it is. Of course at that point her brother decides to join her but I decide to breathe deeply and accept the fact that I am now on my own again with the kids and hope for the best. (Yes, my week has been that bad.)

After a very long delay where I stood on the sidewalk holding 8 different bags while Maya went to go pick weeds flowers (what could I do, she asked so beautifully and lucidly), we finally made it upstairs - and proceeded to have literally the best day we have ever spent together.

I don't know what happened, what switch was flipped, but suddenly Maya was here again, and stayed right here and in the moment for HOURS. This has NEVER happened before. We played with her animals together and my heart swelled as she started incorporating all sorts of imaginative elements, we played playdough and she started making me pretend food, we read books, we had a snack. All the while stayed right here. We had two very minor and very limited echolalia incidents towards evening, but that was it. No screaming. No grunting. No pacing the room while reciting cartoons. No hysterical tantrums over nothing at all. We talked. I asked questions, and for the most part she answered. We played games that needed a high level of interaction, and she managed it. She stayed right there with me all damn day.

And the incredibly sweet icing on the cake? She got into her pajamas with no fussing, chose two new books for me to read her (incredible in and of itself, since she tends towards ritual repetition), listened me read them in their entirety, even commenting on some of the scenes, and then rolled over and closed her eyes. I kissed her goodnight, told her I loved her and how very very proud I was of her, and said I'd see her in the morning. And she let me go. And then quietly went to sleep, without me. Did you hear that? I didn't have to stay in there and play policeman for the next two hours.

I don't know what miracle/angel/fairy/sprite/fate/dumb luck/sheer chance came over her today, and I don't know if we'll see it again, but I have had this day, and for that I am grateful. So profoundly grateful. It gives me hope that one day we will have another one again, or if I dare to dream, even two.

Be grateful for the little things. They mean a great deal more than you may know.

I know this wasn't a typical Sunday Scribblings offering, but when I read the "now and then" prompt I realized that nothing would fit this prompt better for me than this "then and now" moment of my own.

29 comments:

Lucy said...

I'm not sure what neurological problem little Maya has but from one Mom to another- hang in there!
Parenting is so difficult under usual circumstances but like the song says"what a difference a day makes" We all can look forward to that sun rising and hoping each day is better. I looked back on your links and I admire your strength and love. Little Maya is very lucky she is in your hands. :)

Nancy said...

Take it ... just take the day and the wonderful moments and breath it all in for strength to face blips in the screen that may come later.

I could feel your sigh of relief after having such a rough week.

(((hugs)))

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm so glad you had that wonderful time with Maya. I hope you have many, many more.

paisley said...

wow robin,, i must have come in after all of this somewhere,, as when i began reading it never occurred to me your daughter had special needs... i am glad i know this as it gives me a better understanding of you and your perspectives on life... hope this is an omen for the coming new year...

Awareness said...

Robin....may you always hold onto this in the moment day, especially when others seem endless. I have worked with many children like your little Maya......and never cease to wonder where the strength and faith come from for the parents who must cope. Blessings to you.

There was a wonderful heart wrenching series in the Globe and Mail (Canada's National paper) this month written by Ian Brown, a journalist who has a son with a rare genetic disorder......it was his open and vulnerable account of his family's lives as they tried to cope and understand the very special needs of their son. You may be interested in reading it. I was taken with the honesty of this man's feelings. I would think if you Googled the name of the paper, and Ian Brown's name, you'd be able to access it. If not, and you're interested, email me and I will try to find a link for you.

ps. thank you for your nice comments on my piece today for Sunday Scribblings.

Space Mom said...

Wonderful! So glad today was better!

Chris said...

You say this isn't a typical SS post, but I sure thought it was; well written, emotional, and in the end a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.

Kim said...

Robin, I hope you and Maya have many many more days like this! Sounds wonderful.

Pieces of Me said...

Robin, I'm so happy for you. It sounds like a breath of fresh air for you and perhaps a milestone of growth for Maya.

Herb Urban said...

That is wonderful news, Robin. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope the new year has more wonderful days like this in store for you and your family!

UL said...

I am so very glad that you had this whole day with Maya, here's wishing for you that every tomorrow be similar...good luck, stay strong, you are in my thoughts, hugs, UL xox

Becca said...

Robin, I hope today was the beginning of some positive changes for Maya. As I read, I could certainly feel your pain which turned to joy just when you needed it most.

Holding good thoughts for all of you :)

tumblewords said...

I hope this is the beginning of a better time...parenting in the best of circumstances is a tough row -

Lea said...

I am soooo glad Robin. I am so glad you have this day with Maya with things coming together in this way... may they grow, stretch into days, weeks, years, but for right now, you have these moments strung together and they are yours...

Emah S said...

"Magiah Lach" my dear! and "Magiah La!" sometimes the balances in life tip in our favor.....today was yours. I like what people are saying that maybe this is an omen of the year to come? :) HUGS, hold on to it and return to it when you need to.......

margalit said...

This totally warmed my heart. I know so well these rare days when things are good and 'normal' and you value them so much. Take it to heart. Print out your post and put it in your wallet and read it when things are particularly loathesome.

And good on you for unloading on the therapist. It's about time!

Kelley said...

Babe, I am crying happy tears for you. As you know I live this too. So I can feel my heart swell with happiness for you.

Boo does this often. Horrible dark days where all I want to do is hide away from the world, then all of a sudden a switch is flicked, and live is blissfully wondrously bright. Even if it is just for a moment, an hour, a day, it is just what I need to keep going.

Sending you a huge hug. Sorry that it is a wet one....

angie said...

So beatifully, beautifully put. Wishing you many, many more good days with Maya, and that if they are few and far between, hoping memories of that day will always be a light.

I wanted to respond to your last post about this, but I feel woefully tongue tied....like my words just come out sounding stupid and trite.

gautami tripathy said...

This touched me. May you have great times with Maya. Special children are truly special.

Hugs!

rediscovering

Janet said...

Robin I loved the story and can feel how this lightened your heart :-)

hugs!

Nicholas said...

Never mind if it is a typical posting or not! You wrote from the heart and I share your joy at the great day you had.

You are obviously a much stringer person than you realize!

Just Jen said...

You are definitely not alone.
I so understand where you're coming from! I have 2 boys, 13 and 8 and I can't tell you how many times I thought of the boarding school option!
The good news is exactly what you described. When the good moment comes, it's fantastic and it far out weighs the bad. Take the moments and hold on to them!
I'm so glad you found the grateful time because that's what gets us through with special needs children and the therapists, professionals that have no clue, etc. Those are the times when they open up and enter the world instead of hiding within themselves. Those are the times we are ever so proud! It gets better and you will have many more days with little Maya playing so beautifully!

sandierpastures said...

I know this is easier said than done but the saying "This too shall pass" has greatly helped me through these years. I hope when Maya gets a little difficult there is someone to back you up. It would be too difficult to deal with her and your patience/anger at the same time.

-Grace-

Redness said...

Ohhh Robin that is so fabulous for you both - here's to more magic! Know you are thought of and appreciated for being so human! Huge Hugs!

Shannon said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your miracle day. Made me well up. It is the little things in life that make it all worth while. I love that when we moms are at our breaking point someone/thing eases the burden just in time.

Jo said...

I'm so sorry, Robin, I didn't realise it had been quite that bad. I am glad you had this day, and may there be many, many more...under the circumstances you've held yourself together brilliantly.

Anonymous said...

{hugs}

I remember those days so well.... what worked best for me and my daughter was humor.... I had the big red wax lips and could only use them once in a while, but they could save us both from major melt downs.

Lots of happiness!
Dee
http://pavinganewroad.wordpress.com/

Mom not Mum said...

What a beautiful day you had with your daughter! Thanks for sharing!

Fourier Analyst said...

Some very wise Mom wrote a great post about "...the moments in between..."

Enjoy!