Know thyself.

Introspection is something that I think I do reasonably well. It’s not usually fun. And I don’t mean to paint a self loathing picture. I love who I am. I don’t necessarily want to be different than I am. But it’s like there are breaks inside all of us that cause us to be bent certain ways. Those things make us who we are. But those things can bring out good and ugly. I think some of my strongest attributes are also my biggest flaws.

It’s interesting how a fundamental fear of rejection, based on past experiences, can make a person both indifferent to what people think and at the same time, completely terrified of being alone. So will I choose to strive to please or will I choose to not care at all? Both of those responses aren’t healthy. I know my tendencies toward both extremes. And I know why. But knowing why doesn’t always keep my responses healthy.

Unexpected changes and upheaval early in life helped me learn to roll with change. That can be a really good thing. But my ability to roll with change goes beyond that. I desire it. I want change. Always. I feel stuck and trapped when there’s too much sameness. And so living in the same town for my entire life makes me feel uncomfortable and stuck sometimes. But I also know that no matter how many changes occur, once the high of the change is over, I’m ready for more change. I know this. And I know why. But again, knowing why doesn’t always keep my responses healthy. That’s why I paint and redo rooms in my house a lot. It helps me feel less restless. It’s also kind of expensive. :-/

I have pretty good discernment. At least I think I do. I have a very good “creep” radar. But I also have trust issues. Those things come from the same place. And so will I choose to trust people when I know they might hurt me? Love with reckless abandon as I want to be loved? Or will I push them away before they can hurt me? Will I choose to look for good in people or will I immediately see the bad?

We all carry stuff inside us that makes us messy. I’m no more messy than you. You’re no more messy than me. These things make relationships with people so hard. I often feel like I can’t deal with my own mess, let alone anyone else’s mess. And they feel the same way.

I think the only way to really get along in this world is to take a good, long look at who we are as individuals and think about why we are that way. And not necessarily so that we can try to fix it. I really can’t fix the issues that I have. I can’t. I’ve tried. And I really don’t think enough therapy would fix them either. But I can be aware of my tendencies toward destruction and good, based on the breaks that I know that I have. And I can hourly try to choose the response that I know is healthier. I can regularly evaluate why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling or doing the things that I’m doing. This helps me place more reason to my actions and think through a good response and a bad response. I can also ask, and accept, constructive criticism.

It’s all hard stuff. But if I can’t try to know myself and know why I’m the ways that I am, how can I expect anybody else to know me either? And if I really think about what one my greatest fears in life is, it’s to not be fully known. It’s to leave this world with nobody really truly knowing who I am. What a tragedy. What a loss that would be. And not because I’m so super amazing. That’s not it. It’s simply because I’m uniquely created.

We are all created to be fully known. To live in truth, without masks. We can’t live in truth if we don’t even know ourselves.

 

It’s a long #itsmikey post

Earlier today, I read some posts about Mikey from the last several years. Some of them made me a little sad or anxious because I remember how I felt when I wrote some of that stuff. We’ve been through some very hard times with him. There will be more. He will always be a challenge. But for the most part, as I read those old posts, I was just amazed and relieved at how far we’ve come.

So, for me, for our family and friends, here is a little trip down Mikey memory lane. This reminds me why blogging is so important. And I regret that I’ve abandoned blogging for facebook. Just not the same at all.

There was this post when I didn’t think we’d be able to keep him.

When we weren’t sure if/when he’d speak. Just thinking about that now makes me laugh!

Back when I was told he is “significantly delayed” and I wanted to punch her in the neck, but I didn’t.

Back when I had to remove every toy or thing that Mikey could throw from his room.

There was this post after he basically got kicked out of preschool. This was the second preschool I had to pull him from before he was three. After this, he ended up in public school/preschool for kids with disabilities. It was a GREAT experience and helped him so much!

When I was at probably my lowest point with him. Feeling very hopeless.

How he’s 8. We still have some hard moments…even days. But all in all, he’s doing amazing! He’s making all A’s and B’s in school. He’s not on any meds. I realize that is not anybody’s business one way or another. However, I do feel like it’s an accomplishment for all of us that we’ve managed to keep him med free, despite suggestions from many doctors to do otherwise. Can you believe I was told to put him on something for ADHD when he turned four?? Yeah…no. Anyway, he has made the AB honor roll almost (if not every) reporting period for 1st and 2nd grade. Things may get harder for him at some point, but for now, he’s thriving. Just to clarify, I’m not always anti-med, but I’m a firm believer in avoiding them if you can. And so far, we’ve been able to.

He’s turned into quite a math whiz. He can be taught very difficult math and almost immediately pick it up. Aunt Gale taught him some algebra a few months ago and he picked it up right away. I sat down a few days ago and taught him long division in about three minutes. Mikey scored better than 99% of second graders nationally on his STAR math test. Scored at 4.5 grade level. The way he does math in his head is quite amazing. Even the adults in his life can’t always follow his line of reasoning to come to the correct answers that he gets.

He still struggles with controlling his impulses and moods. I think he’ll always struggle with that, but we’ll all do the hard work to continue to teach him. He still is somewhat socially inappropriate. Again, I think that will always be a struggle. And so, we teach. We have “official” diagnoses that we don’t talk much about. We don’t because we don’t really like labels. Also, it’s just Mikey. Who cares what he “has?” Not us. Not right now anyway. We wouldn’t change a thing.

I know I post about him a lot. But guys, he confounds me. Every day, he presents new problems or worries for me to try to figure out. And I’m kind of a problem solver. And not to make my kid sound like a problem necessarily, but… Maybe puzzle is a better word. Anyway, he takes up a lot of my brain.

He also takes up a great deal of my heart. Every struggle to get him, to keep him, to get through to him, to keep him safe, to help him learn and thrive, it’s all been worth it. He is a difficult, beautiful little complicated person. We have come a very long way with him. I can’t wait to see the great things he will continue to do.

Oh and I forgot to mention that he has a cast on his right arm right now. He injured his elbow. There are no visible breaks, but apparently if a kid won’t straighten/bend his elbow, it needs to be treated like a break. This is also the kid who intentionally failed two vision tests when he was five or six because he wanted glasses so… I’ll let you decide if I think he *really* needs that cast or not. 🙂

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Gird up your loins.

Sounds gross, right? Loins. Just the word sounds slimy and unappealing. It’s a really old school phrase that basically means to get your tunic (men) pulled up and out of the way to prepare for a fight. I’m going to compare it to the phrase (ladies) to “Put your big girl panties on.” Roll up your sleeves, crack your knuckles, grit your teeth, and get ready to stand your ground. Take on the day. Take on the problem. Get ready to fight.

I think many of us have some things we need to fight for. Right now, I feel like I need to fight for my kids’ innocence. That is my battle ground right now. That’s a fight I’m not prepared to lose. And I will gird up my loins (do girls have loins) and fight. We’ve been through some rough patches where we had to fight for our marriage. We’ll be there again, I have no doubt. Maybe we need to fight for our health. Maybe we have friendships we need to fight for. Maybe we need to fight for our integrity.

And when it comes to these kind of fights, I think these things are important to remember:

  1. Prayer is seriously a great line of defense. (And I admittedly don’t do enough of it.)
  2. We need a good support system.
  3. Humility is our ally. Pride is our enemy.
  4. When in doubt, just tell the truth.
  5. Limit distractions.

And just for fun, here’s an illustration of how to literally gird up your loins. It’s a good thing guys now have Hanes. This looks complicated.

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