Sunday, November 6, 2011

Captain meltdown

My nephew had his first meltdown less than 10 minutes after we picked him up. That pretty much set the tone for the type of day it was going to be. I am able to look on the bright side: although frequent, none of his fits lasted longer than 10 minutes. Some were even less than 5 minutes.
It's the little things, folks.

Though not yet diagnosed, I have no doubt that Mikie is on the autism spectrum. He is somewhat high-functioning, but can be challenging. I have had a couple of people tell me that they wouldn't continue babysitting him given the lack of proper pay & how crazy he can be. I wish I could explain to them what it feels like to have a mother's love for a child who isn't yours. Just as I wouldn't give up on Trin, I won't give up on my nephew. Having the insight into his particular needs, it would also be despicable to expect his mom to just deal w/ it all on her own. Especially considering her not-so-distant drug addictions and her lack of solid role models, not helping her would be like handing her her drug of choice & guaranteeing Mikie an even tougher life. I couldn't do that. I wouldn't do that.

In addition to being closer to Mikie, these last few months have given me an opportunity to get to know his mom better. Mikie's dad is my brother, who I no longer talk to b/c he's a raging drug addict w/ no sense at all, but I never really got to know Mikie's mom very well. We chatted briefly when we had to, but it wasn't until we fostered Mikie that I got some insight into her background. She comes from a long line of drug addicts & alcoholics. She's one of 3 children, all of whom were in recovery at the time she went in. (She seems to be the only one who is really sticking w/ it.) Both her parents are/were alcoholics and/or drug addicts. The fact that she has come as far as she has is a testament to her dedication. I am learning to accept that her & I may not be very similar in our parenting, but just b/c she doesn't do things the way I would, doesn't necessarily mean she's doing something wrong. We all behave & react in different ways. I don't always get it right, either. So it's silly to expect anyone else to get it right all the time.

There have been 2 specific moments where my nephew's mom says something to me that gives me even more resolve to stick with it & continue being Mikie's caregiver. One time she told me that my brother wanted to get back together w/ her. She was telling me about their conversation and though she didn't say it, my brother must have mentioned wanting me to stop watching little Mikie b/c she told him that the number 1 rule would be that I will never be cut out of Mikie's life. She said something to the effect that I am the only person she really trusts will do anything for him and that I am the only person who has never let her down. She also gave me the impression that she knows I'm the one who called DHS on them last year b/c she also said that I changed their lives & he needs to accept that it was the right thing to do. The second moment was when we were talking about Mikie calling me mom & how no matter how much I corrected him, he kept doing it. She told me that it didn't bother her b/c it just means he's familiar w/ me & has bonded to me. She also told me that if anything ever happened to her, there's no question she would want Mikie to be with me b/c I'm the only person she knows who loves him as much as she does. And she's right. That's my boy. I couldn't give up on him, ever.

I guess after a long, difficult day with Mikie, and the impending long day w/ him today, I needed to write some of this out. Give myself the strength to keep trudging on, no matter how tired I may be. Yes, I work full-time. Yes, I have my own family to care for & they must always come first. It would be nice to have a weekend without work or babysitting and it is hard to see how much it also tires out Justin & Trin when Mikie has a bad day, but I have to keep going. Being around our family could be just the push Mikie needs to help him grow in ways he couldn't before. Maybe this is my opportunity to pay forward the gift my Granny gave me. And how could I ever turn away from that?

1 comment:

  1. I think your last 2 sentences were right on point. I feel the same way about my niece and nephews- particularly my niece. Even from 700 miles away I try to let her know Tia Carol is thinking of her everyday and will always be here for her. I applaud your resolve, you are a great mother, aunt, wife and friend.



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