Well, it's been a hec of a trip, but at the end of the week, we will be reaching the end of a journey. It's been a long six month ride filled with some of the typical traveling headaches, like not having enough room for all of our baggage, and some scary turbulence that makes you wonder if you're going to come out alive in the end. But there was also some interesting scenery along the way, like watching five people reshape their habits, and transform aspects of their personalities, to be able to grasp at some sense of mental stability.
You may be wondering how we happened to acquire tickets for such an excursion. Well, they're not available at any airport, train station, or bus depot. You can't get them from a travel agent, or even win them off of a radio contest. The way we got them... the only way I know of to get them... is to be raising a child with ADHD, coupled with severe anxiety and OCD. Oh, and you have to go through years of living with their aggressive personality, self destructive behavior, and the ramifications of impulsive activity. When you find yourself frantically phoning your child's therapist on her private cellphone at 2 in the morning on a weekend... guess what, you just earned yourself a referral ticket to Home Based Family Crisis Counseling Program. Ta-daaaah.
These were some of the troubles we had with our troubled child.
- Inappropriate internet behavior.
- Failing grades, cutting class.
- Repeated thefts from classmates, then family members.
- Making a false report to Child Protective Services.
- Experiences with the police and the court system.
- Temporary commitment to a mental health hospital.
- Sneaking out of the house, day or night.
- Constant breaking of curfew, day or night.
So, for the past six months, we've been on a journey to modify our family, and get this train wreck back on the right track. Like the ghosts of Family Past, Present, and Future, we were visited by a team of three therapists, three to four times a week, to help us deal with her serious emotional and behavioral issues. We had three or four, two hour sessions a week. One step at a time, we traveled miles from where we were, when we first started. We've learned how to establish and enforce the family rules, and to deliver much more effective forms of discipline. We've learned how to keep our buttons from being pushed so easily, and to remain calm and decisive when a button pushing finger slips through. We've learned how to stop facing off with conflicting parenting styles, and get back on the same page. More importantly, we've learned how to come back together as a couple, and to nurture ourselves and our relationship, as well as our children. That's a lot of learnin'. There have been relationship exercises, role play, game play, negotiations, and compromises. We've refined communication, and defined personal space. And most importantly, we're rebuilding broken trust.
So, now we say goodbye to the three apparitions of the long six month night, and when we wake up Friday morning, it will be the proverbial "Christmas Day". We'll give ourselves a raise, throw more coal on the fire, and buy the big goose that hangs in the butcher's window. But the road doesn't end there. Even Scrooge had to wake up on the day after Christmas, and countless more beyond that, and put into practice the things that he learned. So will we. We'll know how to be more prepared, while traveling a little lighter. We'll remain calm during turbulent flights. We'll appreciate the scenery on the smooth stretches of highway. But what we won't do is get lost... because now we have a road map. But if we do get detoured ... it's easy enough to ask for directions.