When I made the decision to get the kids back, I also made the decision to take things one day at a time. If at any time, I thought that it wasn’t the best situation for the kids, I would change whatever it was, to make it the best.
There have been many up and downs the past year. Many times I have wondered if this really was the best, and have considered changing things. I’ve taken the advice of a lot of people, and tried different things, trying always to put the kids first, and no opinion of anyone else.
But today I sit here with yet another question, another problem, another wonder. All leading me back to the same thing. Is this really the best for the kids? It takes me back to the drawing board, to square one, back to start. What is the best? What would be the best? What is ideal situation? What can I do to make it better? What needs to be improved?
I have been skeptical, for a while now, of calling the kids mine. I refer to them as the kids, I love them like they were mine, but something about calling them mine, making it final, sealing the deal, seeing the papers, putting myself in the spot where I am responsible for them…hasn’t been easy. In a way, I almost wish for the days when the state would show up weekly. I almost wish for the chaos that came with court visitors, and so forth. Yes, it was a mess. It was a disaster. I was constantly looking over my shoulder wondering, and waiting. But I still do. At least then I knew what was expected. If I wasn’t meeting the standards, they would tell me – or take the kids – or something. If things weren’t ideal, they would write up a slip, and check back in a week.
It was hard, yes. But I knew where we were going, and I knew we were a at least on track. I had someone watching to see if I screwed up. I had someone there, to tell me, if the kids best interest was being forfeited. And if I needed to change something. Plus the house was cleaned at least once a week. For a few hours.
One thing about “Parenting” solo, is that I don’t have anyone to watch and tell me when I’m screwing this up. I don’t have someone to bounce ideas off of, or to bounce other ideas back. I don’t know if what I’m doing is right. If somewhere down the road, this, what I thought was right, wont be. I don’t have that second opinion, another view, a different perspective. And so I look to others, and try to find something that tells me what I’m doing is ok.
Even if it’s not.
I take the advice that is given, and I try to put it to use. I try to listen to what others say, and see if our lives compare in any way. I try to follow the examples of other people, the words of other people, I try to take what I can and put it to use, to do whats best for the kids…because what people so often fail to realize, is that I have no clue what I’m doing.
I’m going through the motion. Doing what I think I need to do, watching for errors, and not having any clue if any of this is right. When something happens with the kids. When they get in trouble at school. When they come home with a friends parent early, because of something that happened. When they act out. I start to wonder. I look for something that is going wrong, and to be honest, a lot of the times…I find many errors. Many.
Throwing Josh into the mix, and I’m lost. Completely. My mind can’t wrap itself around all that is going on with him. I can apply enough time with him. I cant devote every minute of my life to finding the help he needs. I have other things to do as well. There are two other kids, a house, a car, a job, bills to pay, things to do and places to go. I don’t have 24 hours to devote solely to Josh and his care. It makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the right situation for him.
Sure. Hes in a house where he knows he’s loved. He has started to warm up to things. Sure. He’s a great kid. Who’s smart and funny and sometimes stubborn. I get that. But hes also a kid with problems that I cant begin to understand. I’ve tried to understand. I really did. The plain and simple truth is that I don’t understand parenting 101. How can I understand parenting 500, and then some?
I see him every morning struggling. I want to help or I try to help. More often then not, I get in his way, and wind up getting us both frustrated. I don’t help him do the things he needs to do. I don’t encourage him the way I should. I don’t allow him extra time to get dressed, because we have less than 3 minutes to get out the door, and I don’t have time to wait. I don’t try and sound words out for him. I point out each and everything we see, because I have something else that is bugging to be done.
As bad as it sounds, and as off the charts as I’m going to sound, as unethical as this is going to be, and as horrible of an uncle as it will make me sound like: I don’t understand him. I don’t understand autism. I don’t understand PTSD. I don’t understand. I just don’t.
I’ve tried. I’ve read the books. I’ve taken advice. I’ve applied myself. But it’s a blank slate, a blank world. All I know what to do, is do what people have told me, and try…try…try.
When I came home from this trip. The talk of the house was that Josh was repeating certain words. He was in bed at the time, but the next morning, he repeated certain things when prompted. His words didn’t have meaning behind them, they were simply things he was repeating, when told. The word “Ball” held as much meaning as “Bed.” He clammed up when he got on the bus, and wouldn’t repeat anything for his teachers, or therapist.
But it made me stop, and wonder. He’s making more progress when I’m gone, maybe this isn’t the best.
Maybe THIS. Maybe everything that I’ve fought for him, isn’t the best. I never claimed to understand, but maybe I’m really missing something big here I know he needs more. I know he needs something else, but I don’t know what. It takes me back to square one. It makes me think about things all over again. It makes me wonder. As hard as it is to entertain. I cant help but wonder if maybe, just maybe…there is something better out there for him. I’m getting in the way, wanting to keep him. Wanting him here. Wanting him.