It's a terrible feeling knowing your child is in a place you can't get to without being wanded and escorted and when you do, trying to cram a days worth of life into 60 minutes.
Walking into the visitation room the first time last Thursday was unnerving. Tables and chairs set up like a classroom. They call your child down over the intercom like ordering a happy meal at McDonald's. And the child can choose to visit or not. And leave when they're done, even if you aren't ready for them to be done.
Our first few visits with him were quick because he was done and just walked out of the room, leaving us sitting there unsure what to do next. He finally had some control over us. Following his cue, we left. Without much affection given or received. And it wasn't so terrible because I was numb. And my wall of bricks, that I've been building for years now to shield me from his venom and refusal to love and give love was still standing strong.
Sunday, it started to crumble. My wall that is. The energy it takes to hold it up is too great. I believe there was some screaming and talking with my hands and sobbing into my husband's shoulder. My husband sobbed too.
This, is a pain that no parent should feel- but the visitation room tells me than there oh so many besides us that walk in and out of that cold room with their hearts breaking apart and their walls intact.
And the kids- the cutters, bullied and abusers and the haters with their desperate faces hiding the hopelessness are a reality call of what mental illness looks like in pediatrics. And people, it is hard to look at.
Sunday afternoon, Rex was sick and feverish so I visited him alone. I was nervous- because if Rex is his target, I am his bulls-eye. I didn't know how quick he'd be done or if he'd want to see me at all. I wasn't sure I could handle his rejection, again, without Rex there to support me.
Sunday is a big visit day so they set up overflow chairs for us in the hallway which was a nice change from that room that I have grown to hate already.
He greeted me with a big hug.
With both arms.
We sat next to each other for a minute and he hugged me again.
And didn't let go as he climbed on my lap.
I hugged him back.
And for the next 38 minutes, we said little- but so much.
I rocked him as he held me with both arms.
He rubbed my back like he did when he was three.
And I cried and smelled his head and looked at his hands that are almost as big as mine. And those blue hospital socks. And his ashy skin and I took him in like I hadn't seen him in forever. And I realized I hadn't. My wall had been blocking my view.
He asked me if I had been drinking Diet Coke? "You know I have" I replied. He told me my breath smelled good.
When I told him I'd stay for the last 20 minutes, or go so he could call and talk to his Daddy, the tears fell from his cheeks soaking into my jeans. He whispered I love you, and I believed him. And I thanked God right then for this 38 minute gift that will keep me putting one foot in front of the other for a long time.
Yesterday, I got another 25 minutes of rocking my son while he begged to come home. I promised him he will come home, just not yet. I asked him if he'll let me rock him when he gets home. He said yes. I'm told he's telling me that because he's figuring out he needs me. Part of RADs is not needing anybody but having believing he has to be the adult- his life depends on it. I want him to need me and his Daddy. To need his teachers- and to allow us to be who we are in his life. So I'll keep rocking him as long as he will keep letting me.
After meeting with his treatment team Monday, we thought he was coming home yesterday. I was excited and scared. I am not scared of him, but am scared for him. And I'm scared that my wall will go up with each set-back and we know there will be set-backs. I'm scared I can't love him unconditionally and be all that he needs from me when I'm exhausted and frustrated and my patience ran out long before his energy.
But while the doctors and nurses are regulating meds and redirecting behaviors and helping him identify triggers, God is doing demo on walls that need to come down. And I'm good with that.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.
Psalm 27: 24, 39
Happy Wednesday y'all!