My greatest fear is my greatest weakness….

Many of you have followed my little blog as I have mentally processed having a child that is a little “different”. I have run the gamete of human emotions sitting in front of this very keyboard clickity clacking away– sometimes with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart in my chest. But now, now I have evolved from the person that has more questions than answers to the figure in a mentorship role. There are several “newer to the fold” moms that have reached out to me from here and, from where I began and with my background, it is a place that I am extraordinarily blessed and happy to be.

No one knows how scary and uncertain it is staring at milestone charts and DSM manuals like a mom that has been through it, right?

But, even with most of my new-found “enlightenment”, I still have a very big and very real fear for my only baby boy. It’s the one that everyone always tells me to not worry about; to just wait and see. It’s a fear that I simply push down into a little box in my heart and hope that I never see come to fruition but all it takes is seeing it on television to bring it all gurgling up to the surface. And, as someone who preaches strength daily, I want -no need–  to share my weakness. Because we all have them. And that’s okay.

It’s that my son won’t have friends; that he will be bullied.

Taping a fight.I know that I am not supposed to worry about the future, and I counsel women all of the time about acceptance of our “new” children (you know, the ones that we never quite envisioned in our wildly idealistic pregnancies) and adapting to the life that we now have…but, I promise you, no matter how much strength we have tapped into and how stoic we may seem as mothers, we all have something that brings us to our knees as a mother of an atypical child.

And mine happens to be Jp being or feeling isolated.

I know that children, like my son, with a pragmatic language impairment (or social language impairment) have tremendous difficulty grasping the subtleties of language when they are being spoken to. While they will learn to speak and sound much like you and I, the brain itself processes language in a entirely different fashion than the rest of us. Exactly like Autism, PLI cannot pick up on sarcasm or double meanings easily. So, when a child says, “Nice coat”, and laughs at them…they only hear a compliment and not the insult.

So, you can see why this is a palatable fear of mine. Without being able to understand the duality of language, the likelihood Jp will not understand that he is being made fun of is quite possible– probable, even.. Without that seemingly insignificant ability…he will seem as friendly and harmless as a puppy dog and that will make him a target for the meaner children. And we all know how incredibly cruel children can actually be when the adults aren’t looking.

But you may be wondering what brought this entire rant on? I don’t blame you.

The other night my husband and I  sat down to watch a movie called, Disconnect. My husband only informed me that it was about “people and connection in the internet age”. Okay, sounds good, throw it in, honey. Well, one of the people attempting to “connect” was a little loner boy who was frequently picked on by his peers. The popular boys in school created a Facebook page and tricked him into thinking it was a girl that understood him and he opened up to them.  It showed the mother trying to ask him about what was going on in his life and he completely shut her out as teenage boys tend to do. Then the other boys convinced him to take a picture (of a naughty nature)  and send it. They sent it to the whole school. Embarrassed, humiliated, and defeated…the boy hung himself.

I am literally crying onto my keyboard right now just as hard as I did watching it.

originalTHAT is my greatest fear. I know that when we were kids that we all took a little bullying. Kids are mean. I remember being taunted at gym by a horrific little shithead. I was a tough kid and kicked him square in the [insert slang for male parts here]. I still went home and cried for weeks and weeks. In this day and age, the children are more adult; more jaded much earlier than we ever dreamed of being. There is this terrible thing called the internet that they use as a weapon against each other that is worse and more damaging than any punch they could throw.

And no matter how much we love them and how hard we try as parents…they will shut us out when they get older. It’s the great circle of life and their journey into adulthood beginning.

This is what terrifies me. This is what keeps me lying awake at night when I can’t seem to drift off to sleep. That is my biggest fear and my greatest weakness all rolled into one scary package. So, now you know that behind every person that gives you advice and smiles while cracking jokes through the therapies, evaluations, and incredibly public tantrums is a mom that is scared just like you.

We just have learned to fight the fears one at a time,. Kate.

 

Childhood Development

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

12 Comments Leave a comment

  1. My wife and I have a blended family of four children, and one of our sons (both are age 14) has Aspergers. He has been in my life for almost seven years now, and my wife and I have both experienced the highs and lows, moments of progress and setbacks, and the ongoing heartache and worry of knowing there are certain situations that he just doesn’t — and may never — understand. I was going to say particularly when it come to girls, but that isn’t something related to his autism 😉 What I do know is that our son, like yours, has something that a lot of “normal” kids don’t always have: The unconditional love and support of his parents and family. It’s apparent that you and your husband possess the empathy and understanding that matters most as your son makes his way into the world and establishes his identity. As long as he has that foundation to stand on and make leaps from, he will always be able to find his way.

    You are all fortunate to have each other 😉

    • Wow. That just brought me to tears. Really, I need to get checked out…that’s three times this week. 😉 Thank you. I love to think that it’s going to be the big thing that makes it easier, knowing that it’s going to (likely) happen so I can watch out for it and not be the parent that doesn’t have a clue.

      Thank you, again, for the story. Maybe there is a certain bliss in not having to worry about every latest trend or fad like we did when we were kids, who knows? But one thing you are completely right about is that we are all in this together. And that makes us luckier than most.

      🙂

  2. Oh my gosh I love you! First, I am never watching that movie. I struggle watching Parenthood so I can’t imagine watching that. Second, you are amazing. I SO get it. I can feel every worry in your post. I stay awake at night worrying too. Here is what I will say. JP is the cutest boy ever. I promise you he will be loved. You are a strong mom and you will fight until your death to keep him safe. You are here to protect him. And now in saying all that, I am scared too.

    • One fear at a time, princess! And that one is mine! 🙂 We all worry! And I have to keep myself from being to “preachy”. I loathe preachy moms. 😉

      Also, there is a new mom that moved in three houses down and literally has the slot right before Jp in speech (what are the odds, right?) and I think he has apraxia. I’m not sure and the mom isn’t super friendly (while I’m like, “Hi! Our kids both go to speech, let’s be besties!”) so I haven’t gotten to ask yet. But he’s a little tow-head, too and I couldn’t help but think of y’all. 🙂

  3. Yes, I find it so hard not to spend my time worrying about the future. And I refuse to watch those kind of movies for that very reason. I won’t even watch The Following with my husband. I’d rather sit upstairs and watch Downton Abbey. My son has been having a hard time with some boys in his class and just this week all three of them were spoken to about their behavior toward him. One of them eve wrote him an apology letter. But, throughout it all, my husband and I were very supportive and loving and proud of him and told him that repeatedly. And I think he feels it. I think JP feels that from you guys too, which, like someone else has said in this thread, the best thing you can give him:))

    • Boys are so mean, right? I babysat a little neighbor kid recently and he told me, “I wouldn’t want to be Jp…you have to yell to get him to understand you and he’s weird.”

      Le sigh.

      But no matter what, we’ll do our best to make it as easy as we CAN for him. I mean, cool clothes, toys, and eventually a car will go a long way, right? RIGHT?!

      And I totally straight girl miss you, by the way. 😉 Can we be FB friends? I won’t call your bosses. And you can say no. I won’t be offended! 🙂

  4. It’s my biggest fear too!!!! We are lucky this year that the Grade 1 class Johnny is in is full of kind hearted children who look out for him. It was partially the case in kindergarten when one of the senior kindergarten girls referred to him as a “bad boy” which I wrote about in a post 2 years ago. The other day I told the EA (educational assistant) that he’s been emotional at home since the teacher left to have her baby and she was upset. She told me he seemed happy at school but when he heard us talking she saw him try to hide his eyes and say “I’m okay….don’t worry I’m okay.” She grabbed his face and tenderly said that he had to promise to tell her everything or Mommy and Daddy if anyone says anything at school to hurt his feelings. I was a bit shocked she jumped to that conclusion since I thought the change of losing a beloved teacher might be getting to him. She told me one of her sons was bullied at school so she refuses to ever let it happen to any other child she knows.

    As of right now he’s had one official play date and has been to 4 birthday parties. He goes along on some of his sister’s play dates….likes the girls better anyway 😉 Progress right?

    • Right! That’s so wonderful! I think having the right teacher makes all of the difference in the world! It’s a shame we don’t pay them like the saints that they are. 🙂

  5. Hi Amber. You articulate this so beautifully for every parent. The memories of those fears are still bubbling on the edge of all my cells, even though they’ve never been realised. We all want to be loved and accepted; and we all want our children to experience the same. In our case, I put a huge amount of effort into teaching my child not to fear bullies, and to understand that they want love and acceptance too. In the school yard, he demonstrates acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, negotiation & peaceful conflict resolution. He knows that there are going to be unhappy kids & adults every where he goes and that those unhappy people will want him to be unhappy. He knows that he should respond to them with kindness and he does. Our kids may not be able to learn these qualities by observation alone, but they CAN learn them absolutely. Alex was pushed a few times in the early days of school and his teachers reported that he never pushed back. He always put his hand up in a stop sign and said ‘No’. He never ran away from them or refused to keep playing with them, and he demonstrates to the other kids how to play appropriately. Wouldn’t it be great if all children could do this in the playground? I understand and feel your fears. Just wanted to let you know that you can channel them into helping your son develop excellent relationship skills; with or without language. x

    • Awwww, I love this! Teaching tolerance without fear. So progressive! It’s also a good reminder for me not to let MY fears become HIS fears…which we are probe to do as parents. Thank you so much for the beautiful words!

  6. This is beautifully put. We are dealing with some teasing/potential bullying right now (it’s the subject of my latest post today) and it leaves me feeling confused, and angry, and sad and helpless at the same time. My son is not a perfect angel. He can say and do mean things, but they usually come from sudden anger, or built-up frustration. He would never set someone up just to make fun of them. To see him go through that now, it’s just very painful.

    • Thank you, and I look forward to reading it. It’s hard, the line between letting kids be kids and protecting our children. When to step in? Will that make it worse? Oy vey. 😦 I wish you a better turn of events for your guy!

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