Tomorrow marks the first day of a new chapter in our family life: it's the day I pick up the phone to remind my son's neuropsychologist, as she requested, to call her on the first day of June so that she can schedule E-Niner's relatively annual assessment.
What makes this assessment different from every other assessment she's done for him -- and the reason why tomorrow marks a new chapter in our life -- is because she will conduct this round of testing with the purpose of furthering the case for residential treatment for my son.
Prior to tomorrow, I've been doing a lot of hemming and hawing about maybe, possibly, considering placing my son in an environment out of our home. As of tomorrow, indirectly but substantially, the process begins hard and fast. It's another stake in the ground.
I've come to some sort of peace with the fact that my son needs round-the-clock psychological care, the kind that can't be provided in a home no matter how many aides we hire to help him out. I've come to the resolve that if my son were to live somewhere else indefinitely, all members in our family -- including our four year old -- will feel more like, well, individuals than cogs orbiting our son's psychological illness.
What I can't predict, though, is whether or not moving forward like this will break our nuclear family into shards so fine, far and wide that we won't be able to recover. At the same time, I can't predict that the status quo isn't going to do the same thing, either. It feels like our marriage is hanging in the balance. We've been flung to the rafters, and perhaps the only way down is to crash.
My husband doesn't want to place E-Niner in residential treatment. Though, all four of E-Niner's grandparents, his school teacher, the treatment team at his therapeutic school, the treatment team at his former therapeutic school, his psychiatrist, his counselor, the family social worker, his at-home aide, his pediatrician, and his own mother all believe E-Niner will get the care he needs in this setting. It feels like the whole world against my husband, and he's all sorts of pissed off.
I've been avoiding him, and vice versa for several weeks now. What I didn't realize is that for maybe perhaps the past few months, he was giving me the silent treatment. To not even register that your husband is giving you the silent treatment shows just how dysfunctional and lost we are. Now, I feel almost as if we're in some kind of western showdown; that we've stepped the requisite 20 paces from each other and have drawn our weapons. One false move, one flick of the wrist, and somebody fires like mad. In other words, things are tense.
Thing is, I don't see much relief easing up any time soon. In fact, tomorrow's phone call and later, things are simply going to get worse and worse. Will it come down to the day that a placement gives us an offer? Will my husband feel bullied into accepting the placement, and then decide to tear up our family afterwards? Will I ultimately follow my husband's desire not to place, squelching my own sense of what is absolutely right and necessary for E-Niner, and turn the tables on our marriage? Will it be me giving him the silent treatment for months on end? And then will our marriage finally dissolve? Is the marriage dissolving right now, right before my very eyes?
I'm taking everything daily as it comes. But as I look around and witness the possibilities, our path is looking mighty bleak right now. As the saying goes, something's gotta give.
Though what I'm struggling through may feel hard, I don't at all minimize the loss of loved ones that so many Americans have felt for their family members killed on duty. My heart not only goes out to all who grieve today and everyday, but to all the women and men whose sacrifice has given the rest of us a freer country.