Being a Therapeutic Parent is not just hard. I am sitting here, nursing my swollen hand, scratched face, and bitten arm and looking at Hope. Hope is in control and doesn’t have a mark on her because of the last ninety minutes of sweat-pouring-down-my-back effort. It is only 2 o’clock in the afternoon. 5 1/2 hours to bedtime. My question is “How do I continue to be a Therapeutic Parent?”
After thirty years of parenting kids from the hard places. I have mastered (mostly) the art of waking up and looking at each day as a fresh start. I have always struggled with the day that has already gone south. I struggle with feeling that my best wasn’t good enough. Obviously, since my child has just managed to rage for X hours. Or my sweetheart just called the worker a F*cken’ B*tch. My child walking out of Manifestation Hearings also tend to make feel like it is pointless to go on. If I stay in that place long, the tears start.
When I reach the why*bother*stage, I find I have to intentionally fight my way out. And, so far, I have not found a sure fire way out. Sometimes, really cold ice tea and a rocking chair, helps me reset. Another time it might working in the garden. Occasionally, another Trauma Mama can talk me down. Before all my health problems, a long walk helped. Chocolate has a good shot, too. None of these methods give the grace of a new day. I am tense. I keep Hope on a short leash because I know if she has another major meltdown, I will be unable to keep my therapeutic panties on.
I can appear patient. I can sound reasonable. I can even go through motions correctly. So what is the problem? The problem is children with Reactive Attachment Disorder have a built in emotional radar that spots a sore points and aims for it. They can’t help themselves. Time and healing are the only things that help.
We are on our way home, facing 17 hours of driving. I am asking God for the grace to keep myself regulated because I know Hope won’t be. It would be unreasonable for me to expect it to be any other way.