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Holidays, ODD & family visits

This article is part 11 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In the last article I shared Knight’s journey up to week 26. He was not doing the best with authority figures (especially in school) but I didn’t mention his grades yet. Before he came to live with us, he was a low C to high F student. He had failed many of his classes in the other schools he’d attended. Now, he was doing better. The average grades he was bringing in were high B’s. Occasionally his grades would slip to low C’s or high D’s if he got lazy about turning in his work. We would issue reminders about his grades, offered him weekly updates on his progress and coax him into catching-up. By the end of his courses though, he would finish with a low A or high B. He really was doing better in this new environment.

Jumping forward to weeks 28 & 29, Knight completed 2 weeks without getting into trouble at school. I was extremely happy for him and attempted to shower him in praise. He was continuing his attempt to join the football team, but we didn’t have his paperwork complete at that point. He was pretty much benched to the side lines. His coach carried continued discipline into each practice and game if he’d been disciplined at school.  Football was good for him and in a few more weeks,  he would be cleared to officially join the team.

Knight was still hanging out with his friends and going to church regularly. He had attended Church camps, outings, retreats, and other special events  (which were all incredibly expensive). He would often speak about the Lord after these events and about how God was touching his heart. His friends were also encouraging him to stop cursing and doing the vulgar things which he had grown accustomed to in his previous life. Let’s face it, our kids will act one way around us and then another way around their friends. It happens. It’s just the way teenagers are. I was not blind to this. I was happy however that the friends he had picked were good enough to also issue him gentle reminders when he got out of hand in these areas.

Skipping ahead to week 32, this was the last week of the first semester for him in his new school. He had made it 4 weeks without acting out at school, but continued to tell me everyday that 2 of his teachers “hated him” and “had it out for him”. He was doing well in those classes though. On the last day of school, we all received a surprise visit from his mother. She drove in from out-of-state and said she wanted to take him for the Christmas break. He wasn’t ready to go just yet. She was traveling to another state also to pick up her daughter and agreed to swing by in a few days and pick him up on her way back through.

Knight left with her 2 days later, early in week 33. We allowed him to open some of his Christmas presents early since he would not be with us until after the New Year. We were all sad to see him go. Both of my boys kind of moped around while he was gone. They really did miss him. It was a realization for me that they truly had accepted him as part of our family now. Maybe they had done so much earlier than I realized? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell through all the arguments, disagreements, complaints from one boy to the next about each other. I was seeing obvious evidence of this now though.

Knight called often while he was away. He would give me an update on how he was doing (if he was being good to his mother and sister), and would tell me if he successfully avoided an outburst of anger. He also called to say that he missed us. By the end of the first week, he called to ask when he could come “home”. I reassured him he was not being punished and that his mother would be bringing him back soon – because school would start back soon. He said he wanted to be home by New Year’s Day so he could celebrate with us. I cried after our conversation. I’m not sure why I cried though. Maybe because I missed him too?

On the last day in week 34, Knight returned home. It was New Year’s Eve! He would get to be with us for New Year’s Day after all 🙂 A few days after Knight came home, Knight’s father received a call from Knight’s grandmother. Knight stayed at her house while he spent time with his mother and family. She remarked about the significant change in Knight. Actually, she was amazed that he was not the same boy at all! She said, “I’m not sure what you are doing with him, but keep it up. He was the most respectful child! He was a pleasure to have and he’s practically unrecognizable. You’re doing a good job. I’m proud of that boy!”

Even though this was not told to me, I found encouragement in her words. We were doing something right if others could identify a significant difference in him. I was happy for Knight and especially happy to have our family all back together again. 🙂

Questions

1. When was the last time you tried something new?
Tonight. Nick & I went to Alibaba and had some fabulous eastern foods 😉 I ate a German desert that looked like a small turd 😉

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
My mother & father

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul. Democritus

4. What gets you excited about life?
The little things.

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
Strength

6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?
Hanging out with my kids

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I ask many questions

8. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
Hold my tongue

9. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
Strength

10. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Nothing

11. Do you celebrate the things you do have?
Everyday 🙂

PTSD on Halloween Night

PTSD on Halloween Night

I am happy to proclaim that Halloween night was not as bad as I had anticipated. 🙂

My oldest son was perturbed that his sisters were not going to be able to make the long drive to our home & bring his neice & nephews to trick or treat with us this year. He ranted, raved, and released some anger verbally.
My youngest was ready for some candy loot collecting activities though.

Costumes were simple and inexpensive (as usual). I always allow the boys to choose what to be, then I create the costume. My oldest son chose to be death. He wore a black robe, carried a sickle, and wore a black skeletal mask. I was a bit concerned about PTSD on Halloween Night because of this. 
My youngest son was a Star Wars Jedi. He used his Monk costume robe and carried a lightsaber.

These boys are certainly not “little”.  After all, they are 13 & 15 years old now. But trick or treating has always been a part of their childhood lives. After their father passed away, we attempted to resume a normal life, so they have continued in this adventure night.

So, off we went…into trick or treat land. My oldest son with his bitterness and my youngest with his giddy excitement & thoughts of skittles running through his mind.

The first neighborhood was not catering to “older” kids. Each one passing out candy at the homes there gave a disparaging look at the boys & handed them “Just Say No” stickers. Nancy Reagan would have been proud, but the boys were more than disappointed.

We promptly left that neighborhood and went to a sure thing neighborhood. There was candy to be had, and lots of it! My oldest began to perk up some and confessed his anger reasonings he was carrying all night. He was upset because when he trick or treated with his younger neices & nephews, he racked up a large degree of candy. This year, it was all up to luck, charm, and comedy to get candy! And rack up, they did! They had pillow cases full of candy won by wit.

After we got home, the boys did the traditional candy dump and swap to trade candy with each other. Then, my youngest sat some candy outside for Jack & off to bed they went.

They did well all night, after my oldest son moved past the anger stage.  I am most happy to report that PTSD did not have an effect on Halloween Night.

Yea 🙂 🙂 🙂

Oh, I almost forgot, I dressed up also. My costume was an unemployed widowed mom fighting for her family 🙂

There you have it: PTSD on Halloween Night

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