Under the Covers

We go through our normal daily lives as most people do, 
but what lies underneath is churning away.

I can't say that I never came close to shaking my child.
I came close, but did not do it.
I did not do it because I put him in his room
and locked the door,
for his sake and for mine.

I went into my bedroom
and amidst the banging of metal airplanes
and whatever else he could get his hands on,
hitting the door,
I cried and wondered
what I had gotten myself into.

And then I cried for him,
and prayed to God
to let me find a way to help him.
Even at his worst times,
I love him too much to see that happening to him.

I cried because I was so helpless
and ignorant about what was happening.
I cried because my husband was even more clueless than me
and could not help.

I cried because his little brother
who loved him and admired him
was now scared to go near him.
And his little sister,
in her own FAS way,
thought to egg him on
would put the bad attention on to him
so she could do what she wanted.

I cried because I knew that when his rage was over
he would be scared about what was happening to him
and I did not know how to comfort him.

These last years have seen all of my dreams go up in smoke.
Dreams of college for my kids,
a loving husband,
a job that I can feel good about,
being a girl scout leader for my daughter,
seeing my sons in baseball games.

We are in therapy almost every day of the week
with one or the other child.

Still, I sometimes get a glimpse
of what lies under the cover of FAS/FASD in my kids
and I think of what children they are!
What they have endured
and how far they have come!

I try to keep my hopes up!
I pray that I am making the right decisions for them.
I pray that I am helping them to find a better life.
Mostly I pray that I can be around for them
until they are set in life.

I think life throws things our way
and you either bend like a willow or
break like an oak.

I have changed my dreams
and I am trying to take care of myself.
I have taken myself off of the career path
that I was on for almost 15 years.

I have also accepted that my husband and I
won't have the relationship that we had pre-kids.
I just try to make our lives more livable
and try to seek some fun for us all.

I have accepted that if my kids make it to college,
that would be a miracle.
If they are happy in some profession,
I will be ecstatic!
If they can stay out of trouble
and live their lives and stay close to each other,
I will feel like I have made some difference in their lives.

by Susan Barret, January 12, 2004
Grieving the Loss of the Dream