me and my boy


1. dictionary definition:  noun a female parent.

2. one woman’s definition:  We make sacrifices, we love our kids. We do our best to raise our children to grown into good, moral adults.  We cook, clean, work, run a household, help with homework. Kiss a boo-boo. Read bedtime stories, take them to the dentist, doctor and library.  We stay up late when they are sick. We wake up in the middle of the night to calm them after a bad dream.  We strive to give them every opportunity that we did not have.

3. my definition of mother is continually evolving.

-events happen in our lives that redefine and reshape who we are as people and who we are as mothers.

my son charlie has some struggles.  his brain is layered with what i think is bipolar or possibly aspergers, add, ocd, and learning differences to name a few.  he has an extra blanket of heaviness that most mothers and children won’t ever know.  a math problem, reading a persons face to see if they are joking or serious, or trying to coordinate his body in a way to throw the football, can take charlie’s brain 10 steps when ours takes 1.  he has to sort out every move he makes through a criss-crossed filter.

you wouldn’t know he had these struggles just by looking at him.  he is a tall, handsome, kindhearted boy.  charlie would keep it together at school, for the tutor, and for the doctors.  but what he was tightly holding together all day, would explode when he got home over almost nothing.  i felt like we were walking on egg shells.  he was like a bubbling volcano that would fiercely erupt over the smallest thing .   as charlie got bigger, so did the explosions.  i could no longer restrain him when needed and it was scary for the other kids.  he always calmed down quickly and apologized, but the damage was done.  going to a therapist once a week didn’t touch that part of charlie.

the day charlie left:

it’s hard to describe how i felt when charlie left for boarding school.  one way to put it is; my heart, my bones, my entire being, were brokenly devastated.  i felt like i couldn’t breathe.

i had worked so hard for so long as if carrying charlie around on a heavy tray.  constantly knocking on doors to keep him happy, to keep him afloat, to get him in the right school, and to find the best of the best in everything; occupational therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, eye-exercise doctor (whatever that guy was called), neurologist, speech therapist, school,  tutors, friends, church, sports, hobbies, music…anything to help him figure his life out.

it felt like someone had died the day he left.  maybe someone did die.  maybe i was in mourning.  maybe the specific hope i had for my son for 13 years died.  maybe on the day i set the tray down, i realized no matter how hard i worked or how hard i tried, i wasn’t enough.

when i set down the tray, i was placing charlie at God’s feet; to let him rise on his own, to figure out who he is in this world and how to live in it.

being forced into a situation that you never dreamt you would be in and stepping out of the role you had in mind your entire life about who a mother is, is like having the foundation you were firmly standing on break apart and you can’t quite get your footing.

keeping charlie at home with the explosive outbursts that were occurring daily would have been a disservice to my other children, my marriage, but most importantly to charlie.  he needed more help than we could give.  if i buried my head and didn’t get my son the help he needed, the help that would change his life, i wasn’t doing my job as his mother.

the first few weeks charlie was gone were beyond hard.  but, as charlie settles in, i am already blown away that he is playing chess, cooking meals, starting lacrosse , serving at a homeless shelter, and doing his own laundry!  he is working for every privilege he wants.  it is a far cry from video games and incessant 7-11 visits that were going down in my house.

best of all, he is learning who he is and how he is wired.  he is learning to see how his brain feels when he gets stuck and how to take the control back.  he is finding his strengths, his worth and building on them.

although i still sometimes cry when someone asks me how charlie is or how i could send my son away, i am starting to truly realize what a gift it is.  how he needed more than dave and i could give him, so we gave him more.  i am a mother redefining what my small mind thinks i should be and becoming who my all of my kids need me to be.

so with charlie settling at boarding school and the 13-year-old heavy tray on the ground, my arms are wide open.  i am ready to hug, love, and focus on my four kids that have missed part of me for their entire lives.  this will be the first time they will be parented by a mother who isn’t 80% saturated with helping, stressing over, and struggling with charlie.  i am seeing each child anew.  watching them blossom into who they are with a little extra nourishment from dave and me.

this is all a gift.  a heartbreaking, exhausting, life changing, beautiful gift.

i saw this quote recently and my favorite part was the word everything.

“Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step towards achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ~ Brian Tracy

i am finding my most beautiful, pure, connected to God self, through my struggle.

my prayer today:

dear god, today i see your miracles.  today i feel your love.  keep bringing me exactly what i need to learn the lessons i am here to learn, regardless of how painful they feel.  i know that is when you are teaching me the most.  today i am grateful we can get our son the help he needs and grateful i can focus on the other kids that need me too.  amen.

may our hearts be broken so they may grow bigger and be more open than we ever imagined.

my new definition: motherLeigh- a malleable foundation of love that holds no boundaries of what it is supposed to be.

may we fill our kids full of love and provide a complete toolbox they can carry with them the day they walk out our door.





Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.