Days like Today.
This is my confession. I feel like I can’t mom anymore. I see the truth, we don’t fit in anywhere.
I wish someone else knew, how damn hard it really is as a parent of highly sensitives. Instead, I hide my tears and quietly mourn my broken pieces. It’s on days like today that the weight of parenting crushes me. I write this in the middle of my own meltdown, stretched across a barren desert desperate for nourishment, with no resources in sight.
Tears stream down my face, I heave out a sob, and choke back vomit as I tremble over the keys. Today, I’m haunted by the judgment of others, and slip into the madness of overwhelm. I feel the pressure in my head to meet the impossible demands of a world not built for us.
I reflect on the whispers of those who cast their judgments.
They’re in the bread aisle of the grocery store, unaware of what it’s like to live life around meltdowns and sensory landmines. It’s not an if, it’s a when. How much time do I have? Will my child make it through checkout in one piece? Will anyone exercise patience with us? Will they soften to our needs? My child clamps his hands over his ears, and the frenzy begins. The stares, oh, the stares.
So we abandon the cart and walk away.
There are coaches of the team who lecture my child’s ability to pay attention. I make his case, “He’s just a kid suffering with [sensory] processing disorder. It takes him longer for his brain to organize structure.” Can’t he see my child’s effort? Doesn’t he know how hard we try? Instead of empathy, we receive emotional vacancy.
My child feels out of place because he “doesn’t look like the other kids” and subsequently shuts down. It makes me want to scream.
So, it’s easier to avoid the scene.
There are teachers, aides, parents and principals who do not understand my child’s needs. I’m full of IEP meetings, therapists, specialists, behavioral issues, communication impediments, and developmental delays. Everyone with an opinion, no one with patience to meet my kids in their needs.
I look at my child, who doesn’t seem to be benefiting from any of the support, and I think, “What exactly is the purpose?” My kids have done all they can to sit in containers, to do what is necessary to be considered good students. They come home, and there’s more meltdown.
So I numb myself to the experience.
These are the days when I beg God to help us. I pray for relief more times than I can count. I weep into my knees, I writhe in the pain of it all.
I am crippled by the way my kids latch on to me, they’re afraid of the outside world. When they get haircuts, out at restaurants, with family or strangers. It doesn’t seem to matter where we are, there’s always someone to shadow their divine right. I can’t say I blame them for their fears. They don’t feel safe anywhere, they feel the rejection, they feel abandoned, lost and alone.
I guess when it comes down to it, I feel the same.
Days like Today
It’s on days like today that I succumb to the trauma of being a sensitive in a hardened world. I hide in the house, rather than take the kids to practice. At least we’ll avoid the abuse of not being like the others.
I count the hours until their father gets home so I can go sit in a closet and have a good cry, and maybe even find the courage to go back to my abandoned cart sitting in the bread aisle of the grocery store.
It’s on days like today that I feel like an alien in a cruel world not built for sensitives to thrive. Then, I abuse the shit out of myself because my children deserve better than this.
We all deserve better than this.
It’s on days like today that I feel the sorrow in each one of my sweet boys. They crave acceptance for their individual spirits. I witness their frustration as they dance on the threshold of their purpose. They wish to show people another way… to live, to feel, to love!
I am a parent of highly sensitives, and this call is not for the weak. Today I feel weak. I want to give in, but I won’t.
It’s on days like today that I give myself permission to feel a little woeful. But not for too long, never too long. I dig into my strength and take a deep breath. I dust off the shards of intolerance and press on. I pull us from the void, I remind my kids of their worthiness. I show them there is nothing wrong with their truth.
Somehow we find it in us to display compassion, communicate our needs, and express our authenticity. We rally as a family, to spread awareness of what it is to live a sensory life.
As much as it hurts, there is beauty in the knowing. If there isn’t space for our kids, we’re meant to create it… That way, all the sensitive souls will finally have a place to call home, a place where they’re able to thrive in their unique needs.