It colors everything you do and tips your world upside down. It takes your soul and leaves it battered and scarred.
Last week Marvin had a huge trigger episode. Normally we know when they are coming and can head them off at the pass. This time it snuck up on us like a thief in the night.
We were getting ready for bed. The rage came without warning and we lost our happy little boy. For about an hour, He was so angry and discombobulated. All we could do is hold him tight, rock and soothe him. We called his therapist at 8pm. We racked our brains afterwards. We couldn't think of anything. I cried all night long. I cried because it isn't fair. I cried because it isn't right. I cried because once again my child had a memory trigger and had to relive horrific abuse.
Normally he bounces back. This time has been different. He and I spent the weekend sick on the sofa. This week he has clung to me. I can't even go to the bathroom without him hanging outside the door. I realize as a mom that you give up the right to pee privately anyway, but still this has been different.
We realize that he has a lot going on. We have a once in a lifetime trip to Disney coming up! While most kids are over the moon the trauma child's voice echos "Will I be safe? Will you take care of me?" He will be excited once we get there and he gets involved. I know my boy. But right now it is one anxiety after another. Will there be bathrooms? What if there are bad people there? What if something happens to our car? What if a shark eats us on the way down? Even the silly becomes something to be feared.
I have to remind myself how far he's come when things go bad. I remember when it used to be a struggle to get him to preschool. How when we got there he spent some days unhappy and the car rides home screaming that he was never going back. It took a lot of work and therapy to discover that he didn't like that I was the teacher and leader and when he misbehaved guess who he got sent to? Now mind you I'm not a horrible person. Most kids enjoyed having extra teacher time. We put a few works back on the shelf, rolled some rugs, looked at a book. Come on, this is some serious individualized attention. I swear I had one child who made it their mission to see me everyday:). But for Marvin it was more of an issue. For him it was the fact that he was "in trouble" with mom. And moms aren't safe people. They hurt their children. Over and over again. If I could go back and have a do over I would have insisted that we did it differently. But I didn't know. So we muddled through the best we could.
Now he enjoys school. And he realizes that yes, mom gets flustered, but mom is safe. Mom cuddles, tussles, plays, and most of all loves her kids. With all her being.
But to be hit with this storm last week was hard. It was watching everything I worked so hard for be unravelled right in front of my eyes. His therapist called it pre-verbal trauma. In a nutshell something happened to Marvin when he was a tiny bean that was so horrifically bad that it was repressed until now. We did everything right. We met him at the level he was at. What hurts is that whatever demon it was may be back again.
So this week I feel like I've been on eggshells. I've kept my voice quieter. Sharp words that form on my tongue have been stifled. Lots of cuddles, hugs, books, songs, and whispers. Whispers that say, you are safe. You are loved. Nothing is going to happen to you.
He's finally coming around and I feel like I've battled a tiger. And I'm not quite sure who won. But I know this. Marvin is safe, he is loved so very much. And if he can't believe it right now I'll just believe harder for the two of us. Because I'm his mom and his sanctuary. And I also know that he's a survivor. And whatever the trauma or the storm we will meet it head on and together.
Amy Fields is a mother of two special needs children and is getting a much needed break in Florida. You can follow her on her blog Many Kinds of Families