Last week my son ran away. It all began the night before when he was told to clean his room. He told me it was done and started to head for the door. I am certain he was not counting on me checking, but I did…and I made him stay until it was done.
I love this kid. He is almost always sunshine and smiles. Almost always. We have come a long way from when he and his sister first came to us six years ago. Then, my little cherub could instantly transform into a raging, cursing, fist-flying maniac over the slightest inconvenience. Often were the hours spent wrangling him into a basket hold while he writhed and spit and let me know in no uncertain terms that moms are weak, all girls are weak. While this scenario replayed itself over and over my husband was leisurely parenting a very different child. For his dad this child was the epitome of angelic, wings and halo included! Over the years we have been on quite the adventure with this one. We have also made some incredible gains.
So, when this day had barely begun to unfold when it began to completely unravel I was defintiely caught off guard. Heading downstairs for breakfast I caught sight of his room, the room he just cleaned the night before. I first caught the distinct odor of urine wafting through the air. On top of this unpleasant discovery I could see that literally everything this boy owned was now piled in a heap in the middle of the floor. My heart sank. I’ve been set up. Why is he seeking out a battle today? I slowly attempted as little reaction as possible and told him to come find me when his room is clean, and then I shut the door.
Now I have been in enough rodeos with this one to know that this was far from over. My kids do also. As he began raging and throwing things my adult daughter attempted to assist. My voice tends to take him to another level of crazy so I tried to calm myself let him go. Unsatisfied with the reaction he was getting he opened the door and began a full on assault. He first began throwing shoes down the stairs, then at me, and finally charging both me and his sister. From there it escalated even further to him announcing he was running away and then screaming profanity as he ran barefoot in the rain down the sidewalk and out of sight.
An hour later the police escorted him back home, still combatant, still mouthy, still spewing all kinds of hate towards me. All of this because I wanted his room clean! In a few hours he is calm, sane, and apologetic. The next day he tells his therapist the whole story but says everything is fine. To him we are all “friends” now. It’s water under the bridge and he is back to being the good-natured kid I look forward to spending my days with.
I, on the other hand, am feeling drained. I am running on empty. I am incredibly angry with him. I know there will be more days just like this one, I just never know when. There is no magic recipe. It is so hard to not take it personal. I know I’m supposed to frame this as “trauma”, but my kids make it as personal as possible. I”m doing the right things- practicing good self care, leaning on my supports, looking for ways to connect with him. We are in a tough season. It is best to think of this as a season, not forever. What am I left with? For today my child says that we are “friends” and that might just have to be good enough.