Saturday, August 25, 2012

An important phone call

I had to leave somewhat unexpectedly with Dolly yesterday afternoon. The short of the story is that she didn't get her vaccinations at last year's annual exam and NO ONE told me until yesterday when I got a phone call from the school. In order for Dolly to be able to go to preK on Monday when it starts, I had to take her to the doctor immediately.

That left Mr. Amazing at home with the rest of the cherubs. (Praise God he had the day off yesterday!! We were at the doctor's for f.i.v.e. hours!) I left during Dude's nap so when he woke up he was pretty much left to play by himself.

Mr. Amazing first noted that Dude was most upset by the fact that I was gone. He didn't even ask about his sister. He seemed fine overall though when told where we were.

If you want to know what your kids are feeling – watch them play.

Playing by himself, Dude revealed a lot yesterday. For example, here's a phone call he had "with me".
Mom, where you go? Why you not bring me? Mom, I mad at you. That's it. Bye!
It was obvious to Mr. Amazing that Dude was NOT referring just to the events of that particular afternoon. Dude was dealing with all that happened this summer.

Dude spent 54 days not processing all that was going on. From all that I've been able to gather, they weren't told why they had to leave. They weren't told anything. And...I guess they didn't even ask about it. They just rolled with the punches.

Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Mamma R did talk things over with them. But when I ask the kids why they had to leave this summer, both immediately shut down and look sad. They don't even have some kind of an answer for me like "the social worker said". I'm trying to help them through this. I've told them hundreds of times that I didn't want them to go. And, because it's all over with, I simplified things and said that it was "up to the judge". I'm not sure what I would have told children if I was the one providing emergency respite. But somehow it seems wrong to have not talked about it at all.

The other thing that leads me to think they didn't process much was a small (but very powerful) statement Mamma R made to Dude the day we made the transfer a couple weeks ago. Dude was sitting on a bench crying. It was a deep soulful cry. He was mad at me and confused by everything. I was having to move all of their belongings into my vehicle. And, given his obvious anger toward me, I left the comforting to Mamma R. TT was sitting on the bench with Dude when he heard Mamma R tell Dude that he needed to stop crying. She told him, "big boys don't cry."

That statement pissed TT off!! That's NOT how we handle emotions in our house! Every single person is allowed to feel their honest emotions just as they are. Feelings are validated. Granted, we have to have lots of conversations about how to handle said big feelings. (Punching, hitting, screaming, throwing things, etc. is not allowed.) But crying is something that is always OK.

TT told me what Mamma R had said on the car ride home.

So I have spent the last couple weeks making sure to let Dude know it's OK to be angry at me. I let him know that I would have been angry if it had been me. I have told him that we all cried a lot when he left. I've tried to give him words to help him express the confusion he must have felt. This hasn't been an easy process because Dude shuts down immediately the minute I try to talk about things with him. I do not want to put words in his mouth. But I do want him to know that the feelings he has are valid.

Seems I must be doing pretty good. Mr. Amazing said that when Dude hung up the pretend phone call  there was a certain finality to it. A tear came to my eye. I hate that he even had to experience the removal this summer. But I smiled thinking about all the healing that has been able to take place in such a short time.

1 comment:

Kayla Lee said...

Praying for continued healing.