Monday, 1 June 2020

What a difference a year makes!

I was chatting to friends about going through periods of “stormy weather".

It made me look back on last year and consider how, in comparison, this lockdown situation doesn’t feel too bad.

Last year was nightmarish.

Going from a position where we were struggling as a family, to seeking help, to having “help” turn into threats which then turned into accusations which finally caused us having a child kept away from us was nothing but hard.

Looking back I can appreciate the intense hardships that we ALL went through. Subsequently being “stuck at home" with your children really doesn’t seem bad.

I have really enjoyed home educating all of the children and the family time we get together.

Over the last 3 years it is fair to say that mine and A's relationship has been poor. For the first 18 months he spent his time ignoring me and telling me how much he wanted me gone; ultimately he was pushing for “his original set-up”.

He wasn’t a bad kid. He was just young, confused and struggling with the blended family transition.

Ultimately, and based on what he was repeatedly saying, he wanted his mum to himself; like he always had.

To be kept by his Dad, to see his sister come home without him and then to listen to adults criticising his mum and me whilst pushing him to “stay with them" put him in a difficult position; be with mum but accept the blended family set-up or carry on which means he “loses".

Hard choice for anyone let alone an 8 year old child who presents as a 6!

The shock and upset he went through put him in a different position.

He constantly would say things like “I like doing things with you now Martyn.” or “It is better now I’m being nice. I won’t have to live with Dad". The sheer emotional trauma of breaking his Attachment Disorder with emotional upheaval really hit him hard.

Upon his return a good week turned into a good month which then turned into a good 6 months.

We then won our second court case and was awarded residency over the children so we would NEVER be in that position of losing them again.

Are things now perfect? Of course not.

We have 4 children with complex additional needs that intertwine and trigger each other.

Does A still have intense and difficult moments? Of course but it is NOWHERE as often or bad as it was. I would say that since we got him home we’ve had a handful of those days and moments compared to handfuls per week.

Prior to lockdown we saw more difficult moments at school than we do at home.

Having him seek therapy to counter not only the blended family set-up but also the trauma of what he went through helped.

Yet, the positive of the trauma is a better relationship with all. His relationship with his siblings is a hundred times better and his relationship with me is a thousand times better.

I have to admit that when we entered lockdown I was worried about a relapse in behaviour and attitude; especially between A and myself where I would be tackling home schooling.

The fear of a weathering situation and being stuck together 24/7 coupled with his educational difficulties would cause a volatile environment.

I was wrong.

In lockdown I can honestly say that I couldn’t be prouder of A.

His interpersonal relationship with everyone has maintained good. We even had perfect weeks with him and James; there were no difficulties between 9 year olds competing with each other for “who is the main/best 9 year old in the house"!

Working as a teacher and dad we’ve had fun and learnt a lot. His educational has improved massively.
He’s thriving in his work.

Outside of school work I sit each day and love the time we are spending together.

Occasionally he still mentions things that highlight his trauma.

The other week we were celebrating our 3 year anniversary and talking about how much we have all changed.

A turned around and said “Thing’s weren’t good were they. I was really jealous of you". Then after a phone call with his dad, who continues to probe mine and A's relationship, A said “I won’t have to live with Dad again, will I?”

I hope one day that the fear he has can disappear fully and he can naturally appreciate the relationship that we now have.

Hindsight is an amazing thing. I love looking at this situation and being grateful that this didn’t happen last year or the year before.

Ultimately, spending 24/7 with your children is always better than the feeling like your family is falling apart.

What a difference a year can make.

1 comment:

Kim Carberry said...

Aww! It really is so different from last year. I am so glad things have changed so much, for the better! It sounds like A is doing amazingly well too! I am so happy for you and your family. x