Trading in Stark Reality glasses for a Rose Colored pair!

Lately, I have been looking at life with stark reality glasses.  Some days are like a beautiful painting.  Many details, brilliant colors, picturesque moments.  I treasure those, wishing I could capture that memory on a canvas to remind myself.  Remind myself of happy moments when the bleak moments come. 

And there in is the stark reality viewing.  Not just one thing, but a multitude of thoughts, actions, moments, situations where I have neither the answers nor the strength.

I am finding that parenting is becoming increasingly difficult, heartbreaking, and frustrating.  I have slowly begun to understand [since the births of our sons], how deep and unconditional this love is.  How there are not words, no paintings, nothing on this earth to describe what it is like to love your own child(ren).  Until you experience it.

Stark reality.  When you're pregnant no one really tells you how much parenting can really drain everything you have emotionally, physically, spiritually.  They may tell you the horror stories of birth.  But that's minor.  It's all about the love, the cuteness, the awe, the plethora of pictures, the kisses, the cuddles, the "first" this and that.

Never, is it told that some days you will feel helpless.  You will feel like screaming.  You will shed tears because each day is not filled love, light, awe, happiness, and "that" feeling.  Because life happens.  It gets in the way.  And you're off and running.

This is my life lately.  
Stark reality.
As David gets older it seems we do struggle more with his needs.  And that is half of it as you know.

With Aaron, he is his own person with his needs.  We are discovering that indeed he may have some needs that need attention as well.  And that is fine.
Never-the-less, it has still been quite tough for me.  He is strong willed, stubborn, angry at times, fearful and anxious at other times.  He is defiant, disobedient, and unwilling to bend or listen to any side but his own.  He is an extreme extravert who craves people around him all day.  He thrives and becomes engergized the more he is around others.  He is hands on, very touchy feely.  Very needy.

Cue, me, mother.  Introvert.  I need time to regroup.  Being around people constantly drains my energy.  I become 'touched out'.  And when I don't get space and time I begin to get moody, depressed, and angry. 

For the last 6 months, things with Aaron and myself have just come to a head. 
The first year in elementary school for Aaron has been such a contrast to the first year David had.

He has not adjusted well at all.  Normally four out of the five days end with a "straight face" in his school agenda.  Maybe one happy face.  He struggles with following directions, shouting out answers, touching others, talking, you name it!  
It came to a point where everything fun was taken from him.  No special TV shows, no outside play after school.  No fun outings with mom.
How is that really productive?
It's not.
And he's not understanding fully why.

I know he doesn't understand me.  And many times I don't understand my child.  Yes, I am admitting that.  To deny it, to say that no one ever feels that way, that no parent experiences this is just...a lie.  

I have found I don't even know myself anymore when it comes to Aaron.  I yell and scream.  I don't know how to get my message across to him anymore.  And in turn it just makes him angry and upset. 
I've walked away more times than I can count to go and cry by myself.  Every morning was a battle I dreaded.  Some days I wanted to just wake up, get ready for work, and slip out of the door so I didn't have to face the morning with him.

Yes, I admit that too.  Stark reality.  

And finally as the pressure has built and I shove my own feelings deep inside it becomes a volcano and erupts.  
Friday had to be the worst parenting day of my life.
The morning battle ensued.  I can't just walk out and go because ... life.  They have to go to school.  I have to work.  Things have to happen.  
My husband, God bless this man.  Is just looking at me wide eyed as I scream that I can't do this anymore.  I need help.  I am at my wit's end.  And this stark bleak reality reeks of lives that need to be put back on track with a new focus.

I go to work, I'm going through the motions, but just long to be anywhere but in my life at that time. 
Yes, stark reality.

Eric messages me and tells me he's giving me my birthday gift early, a weekend away to myself to do whatever I want.  And as you know, of course I chose Disney to escape reality.

But a wonderful thing began to happen while I had hours to myself, relaxing, breathing, being, praying...yes praying for guidance.
I thought about his schooling.  His teacher is wonderful.  And they are doing what they need and have to do.  And have little control on how things can be done.

But I began to realize, and this is such a sad and hard thing to say and admit, that I was looking at my child through this stark reality glasses.  The straight faces "made" him this trouble child, this naughty child.  It defined who he me.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized, no he is not defined by a straight face.  He is not defined by losing a star because he shouted out an answer instead of raising his hand.
Yes, he doesn't follow directions all the time, he needs lots of prompting.  And we take responsibility for that.

However, learning, growing, and so forth are not a one size fits all mold.  He is defined by his own spirit.  Aaron wonderful, spirited, loving, kind, gentle, a helper, a seeker, a lover of people [a fisher of men?],a lover of life, and explorer, an artist.  He is so much more than what is written in an agenda and I needed to begin to see and understand that myself.  No one or nothing defines my child except himself and my love for him.

That was a huge start over the weekend.  Furthermore, I realized that I can not contain this wonderful gift of a child into a mold.  I realize there is not much of a choice for us currently on schooling and we are going the traditional route.  However, knowing more and more about early childhood education [which encompasses prekindergarten through kindergarten I realize that developmentally many of these children are not truly ready for the rigorous class that is kindergarten. 
Gone are the days or 2 recesses, we had more socialization growing up, but we learned the same things.  Personally I don't see this need and huge push so early.  This isn't Harvard or Yale.  This is kindergarten.

It should be fun.  But it is what it is.  It is a long day for a 5 year old.  6.75 hours of learning.  In other words, as shocking as this is.  I am no longer going to expect a perfect day or week full of happy faces.  Don't faint, I do believe I see some pearl clutching.

When developmentally 5 year old children have a typical attention span of 10-15 minutes [of true learning experience] at a time, pushing them further only does the opposite.  If he fidgets in his seat or gets up several times, he may be a child who needs that movement to learn. 
To say "you can't do that" inhibits that learning style.  To say you can't talk for 30 or 45 minutes to a 5 year old child is like asking the rain to stop mid-air while you finish up yard word.  To say don't touch, is to say don't learn by feeling. 
He is a child, he is my child.  He is unique just like every other child.  I don't expect him to be anything but himself.

If he shouts out an answer I'm going to be thankful that he's eager enough to learn.  Raising a hand would be nice, but it's not the end of the world if he doesn't. If he has to stand or fidget to work, I will be thankful that he has the health to do so.   I won't stress it anymore.  I won't stress those small things.

I can't.  That has already lifted a weight off of my shoulders.  And I know there are a million more miles to go.  And it's not a "they lived happily ever after" story.

But I do know that today I had more patience than I have in a long time.  I was able to handle a tantrum much easier with an escalation.  And I had a wonderful time just being with my son tonight as we got a hair cut and ate dinner together. 
See, there are those beautiful moments that seem like a painting!

Wait a moment as I slip on my rose colored glasses...
That's better.  
Yes, I think I will put away my stark reality pair for awhile.  Rose colored makes the day a little brighter!


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