"If one has courage, nothing can dim the light that shines from within."
~Maya Angelou

  • Meriden, Connecticut, United States

Five years ago I gave up on the family blog. It was too hard to keep up with and too hard to legitimize. It felt wrong to highlight happy pictures of smiling children and family outings when our family was in a constant state of upheaval and stress. It wasn't that the moments weren't genuine and worthy of recording but the moments in between those were painful, heartbreaking and raw. Too heartbreaking to ask others to engage in on a regular basis yet too real in the context of our lives to pretend they were not happening. 

I feared my kids would look back at my words and the beautiful pictures and realize that it was peppered with inconsistencies. I kept wondering if they would feel like I was purposely painting a rosy picture because our life was too atypical and abnormal to unleash into the universe. Like the night I posted pictures of the 3 little girls with giant smiles on their faces as we traipsed through the snow in boots and pajamas to look at Christmas lights in our neighborhood. It was a perfect night that culminated in Bob and I calling the police a few hours later when Peter unleased a hailstorm of aggressive and dangerous behavior. The police ended up having to call the paramedics to give Peter 4 shots of Haldol until he became sedated enough to voluntarily get in the ambulance for transport to the Children's Hospital two towns over.  Bob and I would then spend the next 7 days working with doctors at the hospital to stabilize Peter enough for him to return home for what we like to call "the honeymoon period" of feeling remorse and happy to be back home. This stage usually lasted around 5 days and then the next crisis would bubble up sending our family into another period of  dysfunction and chaos. 

So I stopped blogging and started studying. The time I spent on blogging soon transitioned to an obsession with the research that would uncover the answers that would help our son and hopefully save our family. And guess what? I wish I had kept blogging and recording during that period. I wish I had known that the twists and turns that would bring us to today could have outlined a road map for others. Not the road map to success nor the roadmap to happiness but a roadmap that reflects the oneness that some of us have as parents to children with mental health and other challenges. The communal feelings of inadequacy when you can't find help for a child whose very existence is the reason for yours. The unique but similar feelings that you share with other parents who are forced to make the worst decisions of their lives to protect siblings who adore their brother or sister but who are not safe in their presence. The fear that doing what is right over what is easy will create a chasm so large in your relationship with your child that it will never be possible to cross it. And then there is the worst feeling that your child will never learn to embrace the very specific medications, coping skills, and other realities that will give them the best quality of life. That they will forever feel abandoned and unhappy. That you will never see a real smile on their face or watch them develop a truly balanced relationship with another human being. That your heart will ache every single day for the things you can never provide for your child - contentment, peace, acceptance, inclusion and happiness. 

So here I am back at the beginning with a new blog. A new place to search for the light. A new way to record the progress and the pain of raising five children with different strengths and different challenges. Hoping that they find a way to embrace life with empathy for others and kindness for themselves.