Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

Great Expectations

No. Not the book. Me. My life.

I am sitting here behind this screen…I say “behind” because sometimes it is a shield for me…..thinking of why I am so dysregulated today. Is it the two funerals I’ve had this month? The out of state visitor? Marriage problems? My dirty house? The flu virus? The shedding dogs? Surgery?

Maybe. Maybe it’s all of them….and more.

But I think it’s deeper than all those things that show up on the surface. I think it’s something inside of me that I can’t see or touch, but I can feel it. I think it is pressure of the silent expectations I perceive in my universe, that I have created for myself somehow. That overwhelming feeling of frustration. That no matter how often I put the shoes in the basket, they somehow end up back on the floor. And that my movie I ordered is showing up two days late, and now I have to “reschedule” some quiet time. The need to see stripes on my carpet from the vacuum. And laundry nicely ironed and hung just so. Bathroom towels folded in thirds. It’s all of that.

Great expectations.

And because I am so busy fulfilling all my external “duties”, it is also the frustration that my kids need things that sometimes I just can’t give them. Like a pony. And also like my available arms and loving eye contact. There are times I have to wash the dishes and re-vacuum the carpet and fold the towels into thirds. I have to. Don’t I? Otherwise my neighbors will think I’m trashy and my friends will think I’m disgusting. So the kids need to learn to wait. Don’t they?

Why should I make my own children wait so that I can please my neighbors? Why would I keep friends that are judgmental? I don’t know. It’s confusing.

I mean, what if I just forget about the shoes and the shoe basket and give my kids what they really need instead? I know I would be calmer, more attentive to my children, more satisfied and full of love. But why is that so hard to do?

My personal theory is that I wasn’t taught by my culture that people come before ‘things’. It’s some sort of subconscious pattern I keep repeating over and over and something I am unknowingly passing on to my kids at the end of each day. That the dishes are more important than whatever it is they wanted to show me. That my phone ringing overrides the book I’m reading to them. That strangers get my attention at the door at their beckon knock, but my own children, my own babies, come second to my email and to the show I’m watching, even though it is a rerun and I’ll see this exact same episode 27 more times before I die.

Yet my baby boy will only be three once.

And my daughter will only play this dress-up game this year of her life before she outgrows it.

And my oldest son is leaving the single digit ages in only a few short weeks, never to see the formative years again. Ever.

And here I am pushing them aside to clean the house and answer the phone, to do all the things I feel everyone continues to expect of me. But I’m tired and I can’t continue to do this. It’s not making the house any cleaner. Like I said, the shoes always end back on the floor. And me and the kids aren’t really happier when the shoes are in the basket anyway. It feels shallow. And it is.

At the end of the day, I just want to hold my kids and snuggle. To tell them things I love about each one of them and for them to believe I mean it. I want them to feel safe and heard and important and strong. I want them to look back on these years and realize that maybe the house they grew up in wasn’t always spotless, but by golly, mama listened to them when they talked to her and they laughed together every day. I want them most of all to remember my smile and the sweet tone of my voice when I speak to them.

And not that I was a slave to all the pressure my community puts on me. But that I was stronger than that. That their great expectations did not define who I was….who I am…..who I will always be.


March 27, 2008 - Posted by | A New Paradigm


  1. At least you’re realizing which priority (your children) should be at the top of the list while your kids are still kids. Most of us don’t “get it” until our kids are grown and gone and have created their own mixed up priority lists just like ours.

    Comment by connie | March 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. You’re so honest with yourself. I hope you get your priorities straightened out.

    I love your blog. I’m trying to do a paper on RAD and came across it.

    It’s really more complicated than I thought, I figured it would be a straight-forward paper, but there’s so much misinformation and confusion out there.

    Kudos to you for trying so hard to raise your family right. It’s so inspiring seeing the transition in your blog (from your desperation to Tyler’s great improvement). Your writing is beautiful by the way.

    This blog has been so helpful in helping me put together the pieces and develop my own stance on RAD therapies.

    I hope you read this comment. If you do, could you possibly point me in the direction of this “neuro-work” you reference? I’ve tried various ways of googling it, but I’m not finding this “crawling, creeping, etc” thing.

    If you just threw me a name of a key therapist, published book, or a website you might have handy, I would really appreciate it. This blog is the only place I’ve seen it referenced, but I guess I’m not looking properly. It sounds interesting, I cannot imagine what creeping on the floor for 20 minutes would do for a child with RAD.

    Comment by Suzanne | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. PS:

    I guess I didn’t come straight out and say it, but “Thank you”. You really have no idea how helpful this blog was to me. I can only imagine how useful it has been to those who are parents of children with RAD.



    Comment by Suzanne | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. Suzanne, I am so honored that you find the information here helpful. You have no idea how much that means to me. It’s been a long journey for me. A really long journey to understand that it’s not my child’s job to validate me. It’s MY job to validate me. So if my kid can’t connect to me, if he’s drawing picture of me dying in my bed at night, if he’s throwing tantrums for 8 hours a day….at the end of that I have to know inside myself that that is HIS pain, HIS trauma, and I am ok just being me. It’s a hard realization for a parent of children with attachment challenges, because our job is sometimes so exhausting and so thankless and so misunderstood by our communities.

    You can find TONS of information about Neurological Rewiring from an online Yahoo list serve called the NeuroNetwork. That link is in my sidebar under Useful Places. Join that group and ask all the questions your little heart desires. The women who run it are absolutely experts on the subject.

    Please keep my blog in your bookmark and check back with me often. I’d love to read your paper when it’s complete! My heart is in this and it means a lot to me when I find someone else who is also committed to finding answers.

    Thank you for the encouragement. It’s always nice to hear. Happy researching and writing for you!


    Comment by amazingparents | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  5. Also, if you click on my heading menu under Oregon Resources, you will find two organizations that do this Neuro testing and exercises with RAD kids. My son did them through Nehemiah’s Ranch years ago and it was the one single most eye-opening testing I’ve had done on him so far. It really shows you it’s not an “emotional” disorder, but a mind-body one. Knowing that puts a whole new spin on things. Because the body cuts and heals itself. You CAN heal RAD. You CAN. I’ve seen it over and over again using BCLC and neuro work. It’s beyond words.

    Comment by amazingparents | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks! I will be sure to look at it! I really appreciated your quick reply.

    I’m a little nervous about the paper. The deadline is quickly approaching and each time I look for more information it just seems to get more complicated! And honestly, I think this is one of the tougher papers I’ve attempted, between my time restraints and the ridiculously vast amounts of completely conflicting information out there. I’ve never had an outline change so much and so often, and I don’t recall ever being so uncertain about where things were headed. But I guess that’s life, I always pull through.

    Well, I’ll do my best! I hope I do the topic some justice. Needless to say, I have quite a bit to learn, and a lot of information to sort out. I’ve basically discovered RAD a few weeks ago. It really is fantastic reading your blog, seeing your journey over the years, written out so well.

    I’ll say it again, I have a LOT to learn. I can only hope I produce a paper that is half as interesting, beautifully written, sensible and educational as your blog is.



    (who just realized how much she whined in this comment:)

    Comment by Suzanne | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. Yet another question if you don’t mind…..

    Was your son adopted or did you give birth to him? I was not clear on that.

    Comment by Suzanne | April 18, 2008 | Reply

  8. My son was “acquired” by accident at the young age of 18 months when his birth mother checked herself into a clinic under suicide watch. We agreed to babysit for 5 days, but 5 days turned into 10 days. 10 days turned into 10 weeks, then 10 months, now 10 years.

    We couldn’t have hoped for a better accident. 🙂

    Comment by amazingparents | April 18, 2008 | Reply

  9. My son was “acquired” by accident at the young age of 18 months when his birth mother checked herself into a clinic under suicide watch. We agreed to babysit for 5 days, but 5 days turned into 10 days. 10 days turned into 10 weeks, then 10 months, now 10 years.

    We couldn’t have hoped for a better accident. 🙂

    Comment by amazingparents | April 18, 2008 | Reply

  10. Interesting story, I’m glad I asked. Kudos to you guys for being so kind and welcoming him into your home:)

    Comment by Suzanne | April 18, 2008 | Reply

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