I am regularly told, how inspirational I am as a parent.
How my wife and I are such good people for what we are going through in regards to David and his care. For fighting for him and his rights to care.
Quite honestly, there are times when we feel, let me correct that, when I feel that I am failing as a parent.
There are no magic answers when raising a child with severe mental illness. You just do the best you can with the information that you are given, demand answers when needed, and bulldog for your child the rest of the time.
David didn’t ask to be born the way he is. Someone else made that decision every time they made the decision to use drugs while pregnant with him.
We use medicine to help David be stable enough to learn self-control. Are we successful? Yes and no.
How do you control something that is naturally so beyond control that the person has to take adult doses of the medication, even though they are only 12 years old and less than half the size of an adult?
For most of David’s life, he has been on adult doses of his medications. Believe me when I say that we don’t and never have medicated him without going through all other options first.
How are we seen as parents? We are drug pushers. We keep our child locked in a facility. We do these things for his safety and the safety of the rest of our family.
How do we see ourselves? I have a son that I get to see twice a week because it is expensive to make the hour long drive to his facility, and quite frankly his attention span is such that sometimes we only visit for half an hour. I have a son who will likely be moved to a facility that is 500 miles from home. How often will I get to see him? Hug him? Will he know that he is loved?
Considering David has no real concept of what love is, it will be more difficult on the rest of the family than it will be on him to be so far away.
How do I see myself? We adopted David. We brought him into our family. We give him love, and tell him that he is still and always will be our son. Is this the equivalent of us “giving him back”? Everything that we do for and on his behalf we do with a lot of discussion and investigation.
People tell us that we are exceptional parents. That it isn’t our fault. While our minds hear and understand this, what our heart feels is something entirely different.
No parent wants to see their child in a residential facility. No parent wants to feel that their child has the potential to be dangerous. No parent wants to have their child live away from home. No parent wants to ask for help with their child.
Every parent, who is involved with the lives of their child, who does more than just sit by the sideline and watch the world go by. Who works hard to be the best possible parent that they can, is an exceptional parent.
If you hold your child accountable for their behavior, praise them, discipline them, love them, then you are a wonderful parent. That should be lauded.
Are mom and I unique? We don’t think so.
But, like someone once said. When someone pays you a compliment, say thank you, accept it and move on.