Monday, April 21, 2014

Being Passed By

I have blogged seldom lately because life is just challenging right now, and I guess my head has not been where it needs to be to write.  Too much else is distracting me, troubling me, tugging at me.  I realized the camera has not been used for quite awhile, and I need to remedy that.  We are trying to figure out a solution to an immediate need for shop space for Dominick for detailing, while thinking about the need for eventual future career changes in other areas.  We keep asking God to yell at us to give us a little direction here, but all's quiet on the western front right now so we are trying to practice patience and presence...sometimes more successfully than others.  We are not really living in fear...yet...but are definitely mystified and concerned.

This Thursday the girls and I are driving out to California to help my mom get re-settled back at home.  She will be discharged from rehab on Friday, and we hope we can offer some comfort as she deals with fears about moving back in and being alone, yet still strongly has the desire to regain her old life.

Over the course of the past couple of months, Kenny has been on a bit of a downhill slide.  This weekend, it really came to a head, and amid much else that is going on, we are trying to hang on to gains made with him, but feel him slipping backwards ever so gradually.

This morning, we had tears over bagels as he and I chatted over a difficult conversation we had Easter morning.  We are all trying to re-awaken the Kenny who has been drifting away into Zombie Land.  Every so often, this happens, but it is worse right now than it has been in years.  The change in our schedule as everything happened with my mom, and then taking a break from school for a couple of weeks has him regressing in several areas.  This regression manifests itself in disconnected comments thrown in conversations, more immature behavior, a desire to "live" more in a pretend, imaginary world and struggle to pull back into the real world.  His logic is skewed right now, and old patterns return, much to our frustration.

Today, as he sobbed into his hands, Kenny admitted he feels much younger than other 15 year olds and is embarrassed by the fact his siblings are leaving him behind in maturity.  He is scared he won't ever truly grow up, he is afraid his very real deficits will hold him back from ever being independent, and at 15 he knows he ought to be thinking and acting differently but he can't seem to get there.  He looks at his siblings, three of whom are virtually the same age, and knows he is far behind them in just about every way.

What he doesn't see, and what I hope I helped him see, is that he isn't the only one...the girls, too, are far behind their peers in many ways.  We talked honestly about the fact that every single person in our family is "off" in one way or another, and we are all on our own timetable for maturing, even Dominick and I. I emphasized that our family is so unique in its makeup, it is actually unfair to compare.  He seemed to understand that, but it did little to console him, for he sees what we do...and he is scared for his future.

The truth is, we are growing more concerned about Kenny.  He has made some great strides, of that there is no doubt, but he is struggling in new ways right now, and it is hard to watch.  I don't know if it is "Teenage Brain" kicking in, or a typical backslide that we often experience now and again, but we are worrying about this seeming plateau he has hit and wonder what it is going to take to nudge him upward again.  Joshua is clearly now more mature than Kenny is, and if we were to leave them alone together without one of the other kids around, which happens rarely, it would be Josh we would designate as "in charge".

As it stands right this moment, neither Dominick nor I can truthfully see Kenny being able to hold a regular job working for a standard employer.  He can't organize himself well enough, he can't visualize a task from start to completion, and he can't stop his impulses from making him head off in different directions than instructed.  He is a very, very hard and diligent worker, but quite literally he couldn't figure out how to approach the simple task of washing the walls in one room of our rental without explicit instructions...and then he swirled towels around with no pattern so he missed huge sections of wall...then he suddenly changed direction and missed the entire closet, never realizing it. 15 year olds can usually create a game plan in their head for such an easy task, and accomplish it with little or no supervision.

Harder still is that Kenny is feeling the shift, and knows he is being left behind, yet can't figure out what to do about it.  It hurts to watch your son really internalize the fact that he is losing ground as others pass him by.  We keep working on his self-esteem, but it is impossible to combat what is right before his eyes.

He and Josh are in a track meet Thursday, maybe he will find a little success there which can be uplifting for him.

So, we plod along, doing our best just like Kenny, and yet feel like we continue to lose ground, as well.  As I told him, I am sure there is a clear path in some direction for him and for us, but right now the view is obscured.  However, Spring Is Here, new life comes along with it, and we'll keep listening for God to chirp in our ear.


Anonymous said...

Cindy, I know that you are dealing with more than we are here with our youngest daughter, but some of what you said sounded oh, so familiar. She came home at age 11, our fifth daughter came home at age 10. They have both struggled with academics, though our oldest is much more organized. Her problem is not always understanding priorities, so that she spends too much time organizing something that doesn't matter, while not getting more important things done. But the youngest just does not notice things that need to be done. If she drops something on the floor, she would walk away from it, rather than pick it up. Is it lazy, is it inattentive, is it stubborn? Math pretty much totally escapes her. She is a soph, but still struggles with simple math facts. I can tell she is always stalling, if I ask the answer to a simple math fact. She does have an IEP for math and recently had a language IEP added. She loves to read, but must obviously not always comprehend. Much of this...understandable with English as her second language at that age. But I could tell her to wash a wall, and the same thing might happen as did with Kenny. I do think sometimes in our case, I've assumed she would know how to do some of the simple things around the house, but truly need to teach her and also explain the whys of it. She is shy, which doesn't help her to advocate for herself. And the longer she's waited to ask for help, the more behind and the more embarrassed she is now to ask. I'm painting this a little worse than it might be, but she's not up to grade level in any of her subjects, and I also worry about how she will hold down a job...let alone handle college material. With eight kids, so far, even though two are doing jr college, with a third expected to only be able to handle that to begin with, I worry she won't even be ready for that. But honestly, why do we have to make the same decision, have the same goals for least at this point? So I do feel some of your pain, though I know Kenny has more serious learning struggles. When you mentioned the job changes ahead for Dominick, my thought was, possibly it could be something Kenny would one day be able to work with him on...if it's self-employment. I also wonder if there are vocational rehab services in CO. We've never accessed them, but could, simply for the fact they have IEPs. I don't think we'd qualify, financially, as it might be based on need. But they can help with some of the things Kenny might need when it comes time to trying to fit him into a job. They can pay for some of the applicant's supplies (as in they would pay for nursing scrubs, stethoscope, etc for our older daughter, if we qualified.) I know that sounds a ways into the future, but something to keep in mind. It's one of the hardest things about being a mom, watching our kids struggle or make mistakes that will cost them in some serious ways. One thing I've tried to remember, in raising ours, is to not look too far into the future. As scripture says, each day has enough troubles of it's own. It's a fine balance, because we also want to look ahead to help plan. Hang in there. There's a reason Kenny is your son. You will keep on fighting for him, and God does indeed have a purpose for his life. God will lead you to that, as you keep seeking.
Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry Kenny is having such a rough time. Have you considered getting him off of all gluten? It is an inflamatory which can really mess with the brain. It wouldn't hurt to try for a month and see if there are any changes.

Anonymous said...

Sending you encouragement from Virginia.