Someone said raising kids with FAS/E is full of hills and valleys. The sad part is that the valleys seem deeper than the little hills in between. Instead of mountaintops we have never-ending crevasses. My Dad taught mountain climbing. We either went over or around, not down in. I reckon as parents we are to stay on top and rescue our kids when they are down in one of those crevasses. It is so easy to find myself falling right in with them. So far we seem to always hit a ledge and somehow I get out and help them back up again. Sometimes it takes a helping hand to get me out, but the helping hand moves on and I am on my own again. But they leap into the next one. No slow plodding along. Leaps and lunges. In they go. And it's usually never one at a time. It's like a group thing. "Let's all see if we can drag Mom in today." All the kids dangling at the end of the line. Today my crampons are dug in hard, the rope is pulled tight and my arms are growing weak. The kids land on a ledge and hurl themselves deeper into the abyss. I look around. Any respite in sight? No, I must hold on. and on. and on. The gloves are burning through. The tears are falling. The ice ax is pulled free but I must still hold on. They must have help and I am the only one here to give it. How much longer? Is there another ledge? Will they hear me telling them to be still and rest? "Be still, wait for help!" "No more leaping." "Life is much brighter at the top." If they hear, will they understand? What if they interpret being still as leaping? What other way can I describe it? I need new words. I need to cut through the cold and fog with words they will understand. How I long to embrace them at the top! Maybe I don't want a mountaintop. There are too many crevasses on the way. Maybe I should stay down in that nice, green, grassy valley. We won't get anywhere or ever see any mountaintops but its quiet and protected from the wind and storm. No more crevasses to leap into. Just gentle ups and downs, rolling fields of flowers, a rock jutting out here and there, a few trees. A cave for shelter. Is that all I can offer my children? What is in their best interest? A quiet, sheltered life? Or are they to learn to do more and go places and see things and learn to not let it send them over the edge? Can they learn? Or is that expecting too much? Maybe falling into the crevasse should just be part of the schedule. It will happen, so get the help in place before the fall can begin. Most the time, people plan before they begin a journey. Most of us can't. We are already in the middle of the journey. We didn't even know where it would lead or what kind of journey it was. We leapt in ourselves. We found out later that our kids swing in the crevasses and have no way of knowing how to get out. They don't understand how they got there in the first place. They just are and be and do. No reason. No understanding. And for most of them no chance of ever understanding. They live their life in confusion. It happens around them and they don't know how to cope so they end up in the next crevasse or the same one, over and over again. They even holler at us for holding on to the rope. The older they are the more they holler and yet they are no more aware of the danger than when they were little. I will hold on today. I must. It is their only hope. I have to follow the journey to the end, whatever that may be. I must hold on, one-second at a time, one step at a time, moment by moment.