490 days of loving more!
Let’s be clear about one thing.
Today, well today the desire to yell had absolutely, positively nothing to do with my boy’s behavior. Nope. It had absolutely, positively, everything to do with my nerves, my fear, my stress. Let me step back in time one year.
At #2’s 4-year well visit last year I expressed concern about his vision, especially after he struggled with the eye exam. It was agreed that a trip to the pediatric eye doctor was a good plan. I went, quite nervous as to what would be said, and left even more nervous than when I went in. It seemed that one eye showed pallor or optic nerve atrophy (damage to the nerve.) This could be nothing, as in just a born with type of thing, or it could mean a big something, like a brain tumor or future Glaucoma. We were to wait three months and then return for another examination. Well, that examination led to the decision that an MRI was necessary to rule out a brain tumor. It is easy to say that I left that doctor’s appointment way more nervous than the appointment three months prior. It is also easy to say that as I waited for the test results from the MRI that I never felt sicker to my stomach in my life.
The MRI came back clear. No brain tumor. Good news. Next steps? Just watch the eye for change; no need to worry unless there is change. Phew. But wait.
Enter last week.
At #2’s 5-year well visit he once again struggled with the eye exam. This time though when we covered the “bad eye” he said,
“Wow. This eye (the good eye) sees so much better than the other one. The other one was kind of funky. It didn’t work so well.”
Ugh. Enter sick to my stomach feeling again, especially since for the last few weeks he had been complaining that his eye hurt.
It was once again agreed that a trip to the pediatric eye doctor was a good plan, as in, a “this has to happen within the next couple of days” plan.
So today was the big day. Today was the day when we would learn if the eye had worsened, if another MRI would be needed, if I would be even sicker to my stomach. My husband and I were nothing short of a bundle of nerves. And my darling five year old? Well, he was just as bad. He HATES the eye doctor. He hates the eye drops that sting. It was a toss up as to which one of us wanted to go the doctor the least today.
As we sat in the waiting room, our nerves fighting against each other, he crawled all over me. He pulled my braid. He kept grabbing my hand while I tried to fill out paperwork. He didn’t stop asking me “would the eye drops sting again?” He didn’t. Stop. Moving.
He didn’t stop wanting my attention.
He didn’t stop needing my attention.
He didn’t stop feeling agitated that I wasn’t giving him more attention.
I didn’t stop feeling agitated that he was giving me so much “attention.”
I just wanted to scream get off of me.
I just wanted to yell stop bothering me.
I just wanted to cry, please don’t let your eye be worse, please don’t let it be a really bad doctor’s appointment, please, oh please, be okay.
And then finally, it hit me harder than my son did when he accidentally knocked me in the head when climbing into my lap: My son was just as nervous as me. My son NEEDED MY LOVE and comfort and support so desperately at that moment and I wasn’t giving him nearly enough of it. Sh*t, I wasn’t giving him any. I am normally so good at being strong for my kids when they are scared. I am normally so good at managing my fears so they find comfort in me. Today, I didn’t do such a good job. Today, I almost yelled at my sweet son because he was scared and because, well, I was too.
I don’t know what exactly finally made me realize that “it’s not you…it’s me” that is the problem in that moment but I am so grateful I finally did. I can only imagine how sick to my stomach I would have felt if I had lost it on him; if I had brought him to tears when he was so scared and so very much needing his mommy. I quickly finished the paperwork and held my son in my arms like a baby. I played with his hair; talked to him, told him it would be okay. I forced myself to stay strong and to focus on my behavior so that I could be there for him and help him calm down. And when my son began to twitch in my arms and I started to twitch with frustration, I reminded myself that he wasn’t the only one struggling, that I was too.
Thankfully, the doctor’s appointment went fine. Fine. We shed a few tears over the eye drops but no tears over the diagnosis. This time we were told to return in a year, not six months. This is good news. Really good news. It is more than good news actually it is “I am so incredibly grateful” news.
It is also really good news that I have The Orange Rhino Community. Yesterday I shared my “it’s not you…it’s me” mantra which really made it top of mind today. In other words, you all really helped me today in a tough situation with my son. Thank you. Thank you one thousand times over for giving me a place to share my journey to yell less and love more. I feel I loved more today because of you and that is more than good news, it is “I am so incredibly grateful” news.