Things around the Oprisko house have been a little raw of late.
It was a stupid argument on our way out the door for church about Nora’s Converse shoes that culminated in her slamming the screen door in Sammy’s face, and me grabbing her by the arm and yelling at her to stop being so selfish.
She cried. William bit his hand and started screaming. Sammy got scared and cried, too. Husband yelled at me for escalating the situation.
We wrestled the kids back in the house where the yelling continued and William easily reached meltdown status.
And, while I stroked his hair and soothed him and said I was so, so sorry…that’s when William punched me in the face.
Yeah, that happened. My 7-year-old punched me in the eye.
Aside from the (surprising) physical pain, I was devastated.
Because you love your kids. You would do anything to make sure they know how much. You pray for them, and you dry their tears and clean up their puke at 3 in the morning. You fight school systems and bullies and doctors who don’t have their best interests in mind.
And when things like this happen, maybe you think you’re a failure. Maybe you resent the fact that this is your thank you. Maybe you think, *bleeeeep*, that really hurt. Maybe you wonder what it’s going to feel like when he’s 16, or what the neighbors are going to think about your husband when you start walking around sporting a broken nose or black eyes. Or worse, you wonder, is someone going to take my child away because they think he’s dangerous?
Maybe you wonder how much he was able to control his actions because of how his brain works, and how much of it was him looking at me, considering throwing a punch, and then saying yeah, I wanna do that.
I don’t know. What I know is that as I sat there on the couch, with my hand covering my left eye and crying in physical and emotional pain, his noises changed.
He stopped grunting and growling and whining. And I heard him sobbing, in anguished regret.
He didn’t touch me, didn’t say he was sorry. Just wept for a horrible thing he’d done.
And this is where I’m raw. Because I don’t know what the lesson is here. I wish I could make more sense out of life with special needs, but it’s so messy and confusing and painful and frightening sometimes.
And yeah. I guess sometimes you get punched in the face. Sometimes you get bitten. Sometimes you get kicked at and head-butted and slapped.
It’s part of this thing. But, William? Here’s what I’m thinking.
This is not you.
You are not the type of boy who throws punches, and definitely not at your mommy. But you were scared today because you saw me yell at your sister, and your protector came out. I see what you did, and I understand why.
But this is not you.
Violence is never okay–just like my actions were not okay, either–and we are now going to be talking about that more because we love you too much to allow you to develop into a hateful and violent person, as far as you can control your own body’s movements.
I know your brain works differently and causes you to lose control sometimes. We’ll work on it. But main takeaway here: I want you to know that you cannot make me leave you. You cannot hit me and make me leave. You cannot bite me and make me hate you. You cannot shove me and make me think you’re not worth it.
You are my baby. And I will stay with you. Always.
Love hurts sometimes. And sometimes it hurts like hell. But a mom’s a mom. And her baby’s her baby.
Pray for me, a sinner.