I haven’t cried that hard in almost two months…and rightfully so when we had to say goodbye to my husband’s father…a man who loved me like one of his own. We all have shed a few tears or had utter meltdowns since that day, but last night…was rough.
It wasn’t about my Father-in-law…or maybe it has something to do with it. The crying, sadness, occasional fighting over the “why’s” and feeling lost at random moments, have added a new layer of stress to life…stress that cannot even be compared to what my Mother-in-law must be facing…
So last night.
I am sharing/writing this in hopes of maybe figuring this out or seeking help, and also to cleanse my soul.
He is beautiful. He is brilliant. He is funny. He is tough.
But not last night.
Over the course of this month he has spiraled into one gigantic hot mess.
He was soooo excited when I took the Halloween decorations out at the beginning of October. He didn’t like some of them, but moved on.
We went out over the next few weeks to the drug store, or dollar store, or even a grocery store and Halloween was everywhere. “I don’t like dat” was his first comment when he saw some scary things.
Fast forward to yesterday in K-Mart, he sat in the cart, covered his face the ENTIRE time we were in the store, even after many attempts to reassure him we were far away from the scary stuff…He did peek at Christmas things, and then went right back to hiding.
We no longer can go into one of his favorite stores after he froze with sheer fear and panic at skeletons hanging from the ceiling.
AND to top all these very long, confusing, frustrating and very heartbreaking outings…there was last night.
We decided to forget cooking after a long week already, (and it was only Wednesday), and take the kids to a bar/restaurant that we haven’t gone to in a while.
A nice friendly Irish family restaurant in town…that had a few Halloween decorations as you entered the building.
PANIC. TREMBLING. SWEATING. CRYING. YELLING. FEAR.
Our son froze…our two daughters were shocked at his behavior but quickly stepped in to help coax him out of it with toys and coloring and even some French fries…
We contemplated leaving.
But what about the two kids inside who were so excited to go out to eat? And a flabbergasted husband who hasn’t seen this side of his son to this extreme…
I took him into the car, to cool himself and myself off((him-literally. Me-figuratively). He had been clutching me for about ten minutes and shaking and dripping with sweat.
When we returned, people from the bar came over to offer help and give him lollipop or be funny…nothing worked.
We decided that the majority had to eat, as it was getting late, so we asked to move our table(we had been seated near the entrance and could see some of the decorations…and the waitress even took one down for him that looked the scariest) and quickly finish our meal. Our son refused to remove his body from mine and refused to remove his hand from his eyes and refused to eat or drink. He sat there for another twenty minutes, sweating and shaking…I tried to quietly tell him of all the things around him ( a window, a ketchup bottle, his napkin, his sister across from him)so there were no surprises when he chose to look around.
We got him out to the car finally after my husband and girls quickly ate their meals.
He was fine…perfectly fine.
Once he was buckled in his car seat and we started for home, he exclaimed he wanted “Zert”. He cannot go to bed without dessert every night. We sighed and said ok, but you have to eat your dinner first (that was kindly packed up by our very flustered waitress), and he said “ok, I am so, so hungry!”….
I couldn’t help myself.
Maybe it was because I was hungry, or had a cocktail before we had left the house for dinner…but I cried like a baby last night.
I acted like I was ok, and ran up to my room and sobbed.
Is this normal? Did we, as parents, fail him and not do the right thing? Should we have left immediately without trying to figure out what was wrong? Is there something wrong with him?
Or is just our beautiful, brilliant, funny, tough AND overly sensitive?
I am beginning to think maybe not.
I DO NOT want a label on my child. I do NOT want to pump him with drugs. I want to know if we are missing something, and maybe we DO need to be more sensitive towards his fears…I felt as if that was one of the first check marks on his list of moments that molded him forever, and will never forget it…
I feel like I failed our son.
But now as I write this I feel some relief knowing that someone might say, “he is fine” or “call the doctor”. NOW.
We have a Tot time Halloween party this morning.
My stomach aches to think of what may or may not happen. Last year, we had to leave before it even started.
Do I hide under his rock with him until Halloween decorations come down, and Thanksgiving one’s go up?
I am at a loss. My girls were fearful of all things scary when they were younger, but nothing like this…no way near this.
Trick Or Treating? I really don’t think so.
My kids told him he can use his Captain America shield to hide from the bad stuff so we can still go out…I am just not sure that will happen…but maybe we try? Or will that scar him even more?
He is our baby. I just don’t want to do any more harm than good…
I want to be his shield of all things good and evil.
First my sympathies about your father-in-law. Sorry to hear about that. Secondly, you are not failing in any way as a mom. I am also a mom and parenting is the toughest job on earth. We do everything by trial and error and as my Pediatrician even said one day, mostly by error. I felt good hearing that from him. Maybe just go with the flow this year for Halloween, what’s most important is his happiness not the candy or costume. Next year could be totally different. ❤ Stay strong, you're doing great. 🙂