Monday, March 14, 2011

From the Wolf Den: Helpless (But Not Hopeless)

It's been such a long, long time since I've read the ID on my sort-of-smartphone and seen "Wolf-CHYC" listed there. When my phone rang this morning I was at a coffee shop trying to get my writing assignments in order after almost two weeks on vacation. It was a beautiful day today, full of sunshine only an Alaskan winter morning could provide, and I was expecting a wonderfully productive day (now that Bear has gone back to school).

Seems there was a little tussle at CHYC; somebody aggravated Wolf (so easy to do, and the other boys know it) and he neglected to walk away, instead trying to charge headfirst into the other guy. Thankfully, staff got to him first and held him back.

It's so hard to control impulses for these kids. Wolf doesn't even have the most basic ability to say to himself "Don't do it." When you were a kid, did you ever see something in a store so incredibly cool, so absolutely beautiful, that you had to touch it, even if the sign said plainly, in big block letters, "DON'T TOUCH"? Yeah, that's my kid. Always.

I remember one time when Wolf got suspended from school in the first grade for jumping on a kid just because the class bully told him to. When I asked him "Why? Why would you do such a terrible thing?" He just stared at me and said "I don't know."

Now, all parents know there is nothing quite so aggravating as the "I don't know" response. Even in the best of circumstances it makes us feel helpless, as if this child to which we gave birth is suddenly and unexpectedly a stranger. It's not a good feeling.

At this juncture of Wolf's life, when he is so close to coming back to a less-restrictive living situation, losing one's cool like today simply will not do. Consequences will be swift and dire, and that leaves me with a degree of helplessness I cannot describe.

But not hopeless. Yukon and I have pledged, in the most painful way a parent could, to support Wolf to the best of our ability, to talk openly with him, to share suggestions where they are wanted, to coach and remind and remonstrate. And that's not a message of hopelessness. It's a message of reality, of positive parenting, and we'll try as hard as we can.

It is easy to feel helpless with respect to our disabled children. But hope is indeed the thing with feathers, and sometimes it flits here and there and lands in the most interesting places. We must hold on to hope when it comes anywhere near.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Even parents of so-called "normal" children deal with the 'what were you/ why WEREN'T you thinking?!' issue...this must be terribly hard for you, and for him. I have no words except to offer, once again, to say that it is patently obvious you are doing a fantastic job with your sons.