Last Friday we went to visit our son, Joseph. That, in itself, is a strange thing to say.
Considering the difficulties we’ve faced and the long and careful process of deciding to seek out this kind of option for Joseph, and then finally finding something that would work (that we could afford!), and hoping once he was there that it really would work, that he would be happy and want to be there and they would want to work with him…with all of that actually coming together, and knowing my son is in the best place for him right now, it seems like I should be on cloud nine!
But instead I find myself just feeling strange.
On the one hand, what an absolute tragedy, that a child would be so broken that the best situation for him to grow and change and learn is not with his family. How awful that a twelve year old child feels more safe and content with his family at a distance.
I’ve been working through all of this long enough now that I don’t worry we could have done something different or better. Certainly we could have done it better -- parenting, attachment therapy, life in general, (we are far from perfect!) -- but it would not have changed the necessity of our current situation. Any doubts I once had about that were wrestled away in the many months it took to come to the decision to even consider residential treatment for Joseph. Through conversations with my husband, our family therapist, close friends, trusted advisors, and God, I worked through my doubts, fears, and the most difficult of all, my pride, and finally came to the realization that the best thing for our child was not something that we could offer him in our home.
I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt, and being with Joseph on Friday just confirmed it once again. But it makes me angry. And it makes me sad.
But then there’s the other side of all of this. Without the anxiety of a child who rejects love, fights family, and lives in a state of constant misery in our home, our home is finally, for the first time in over two years, a nice place to be.
Michael, our younger son, is much more calm, and is beginning to come into his own.
Our home is peaceful.
I’m finding myself able to function again, able to do normal life things. I’m less stressed, less drained. I have so much more emotional energy.
And Joseph, he’s doing great! He’s more content than I’ve ever seen him. He wants to stay where he is, and yet genuinely enjoys seeing us and being with us.
Everything is so good right now. For so long we were just surviving. Now everyone is where they need to be to thrive.
I am grateful, so very thankful.
But it still feels strange.