“Ok, let’s play a game. Look at me and watch me make a silly face. Keep your eyes on me and make the same faces I’m making. It will be so funny! Then it can be your turn and I’ll make whatever silly faces YOU make!”
This is a game I’m trying to play with my son on a regular basis. We have recently found out more details about how his difficult start to life has affected his brain. We have learned that he is looking at the world through a lens of fear. Early childhood trauma (which also includes trauma in the womb or in infancy) is no joke. It literally messes with a person’s mind. That mind then needs to be taught how to love and how to be loved; it needs to be nurtured and rewired so it can trust.
My son is sweet and special. He is also really struggling in some areas because of what happened to him as a baby. He has a really hard time making eye contact because his brain is constantly telling him he’s in danger and he can’t trust anyone or anything. His eyes dart back and forth, to and fro. And so we play this game. We play this game so he can look into happy eyes and know he’s safe. Know he’s loved. Know he’s protected. For us, making silly faces at each other is building bridges between each other, teaching a little boy how to be a little boy, to let go of trying to control everything and trust that the grown-ups in his life will handle the details.
I also have a sweet little girl. She doesn’t have the struggles my son has. She’s been loved, cherished, and protected since conception. She’s strong and secure. But she needs my love, attention, and training, too. She needs to know her mommy is there for her, too. And with a little boy who is requiring constant watchfulness, training, love, and focus, sometimes my little girl takes second place.
So I have been in the throes of it. I have been learning to surrender to this season. On the days when my son is in school and my daughter is not, I’m learning to fix my eyes and my heart on her, to give her the love and attention she needs so that when her brother comes home and I need to focus on him she won’t feel abandoned or ignored. I have been desperately clinging to the grace of God to be able to lay down my feelings and my pride in order to have the patience to parent my children in the constant, present, kind, hands-on way they require in this season.
I’m going to be very honest: this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But it’s also something that is breaking me in a way that has me on my knees thanking God – for His mercy and kindness toward my son, His care for my daughter, and for His chiseling and molding of me…Read More