8pm and still going strong. As usual 4:30 a.m. was go time between getting the kids out the door and myself off to work. Squeezed in dinner for the family and little play time with the boys. Finally, finished for the day and time to relax.
While the thought of sitting down and watching tv for a half hour crossed my mind and led me to actually sit down and put down my phone.. Eric was easing into another epic meltdown.
Meltdowns are not temper tantrums folks. Meltdowns are all out knock out drag down fights that Eric has.. with himself.
Tonight was hard. His humming got louder and his pacing faster. Visible anxiety and aggrevation began consuming his being. And then it began. The punches. The scratches. The knees to the head. The all out war he was waging against the body does not work for him began.
Eric is strong. And bigger than me now. But to see my son hurt himself, hitting himself so hard in the face that his skin splits and he bleeds.. his knuckles swell and his face bruise.. suddenly, my strength knows no limits. My body doesn’t feel the pain of his hits that I block. My stresses of the day cease to exist and my being on this planet is to only protect him.
Physically his meltdowns are exhausting. Often I feel like I’ve run a marathon and worked out for hours. Emotionally it’s defeating. To feel so incredibly helpless as you watch your child sob in despair while hurting themselves so terribly. To look you in the eyes as their tears roll down their cheeks. Knowing they are in so much pain, but you can’t do anything for them other than try to be their human shield.
They can’t even tell you.
I don’t know when it happened. Somewhere along the lines I grew numb to so much in the world. Numb to the inconsequential. Numb to the frivolous. Numb the to excuses and numb to the petty. My perspective on life changed. My rind grew thick. I stopped allowing the unimportant to matter.
People have told me I’m strong. That they don’t know how I do it. While it comes from a good place, the truth is I just don’t have a choice. If I focused only on the challenges, what good what that do? There is always a silver lining. There is always a reason, and I will not accept that it’s all for not. I will not allow my soul to grow bitter. I know there is beauty inside the life my son lives.
However, there are many times I have to check my rind, to make sure it hasn’t hardened. To remind myself that while I may have my idea of what is important in life and worth stressing about, that it may may not be the same as someone else’s..
Tonight my rind was peeled back. After a half hour of physical restraint and emotional breaking, Eric finally gave his body a break. But the tears still streamed, and the sobs deepened. He went to his room, and I followed. Looking in his eyes, I could see the words he was thinking. The sadness. The desperation. I too, began to sob. I put my head on his chest and we cried, together.
My rind was off. My strength was gone. I was in the moment with him and feeling his pain, and he knew it. He, I am sure, could feel mine as well.
As my own sobs drowned out his, it was if he knew I understood him. That it was ok to cry. That is was ok to be sad. That it was ok to be soft. His tears lessoned, and his sobs subsided. We laid there to let the moment pass, and then we prayed – together.
Sometimes you have to peel back your rind. Remembering that if you let it get too thick you can lose connection with others and miss sweet moments like I had tonight.
What is your opinion of important? Did you stress today over things you will forget in a year from now? Was the anxiety worth it? Did anything good come from what upset you or did it just become an emotional and spiritual burden for you?
The only thing in this life we can 100% control at all times is our reaction. Learning to let go of what we were never in control of is liberating and brings with it genuine peace that will set your spirit free.
While I’m sure I have much more to learn in life, the one rule I have learned that has changed my being is that I am not in control. He is. I will do my best every day to be like Him and keep my rind tough to those things that do not matter and soft to those which do.
Psalm 62:1-2 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
One thought on “Life’s hard. Toughen your rind.”
Your courage, strength and wisdom have brought me to tears. Eric is such a beautifully special person…..and so are you. It is sad to hear his pain but inspiring to hear your ability to connect with each other.